Pharyngula

Will Scott Adams never learn?

We went round and round on this well over a year ago. Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, wrote a shallow and ignorant argument that sort of shilly-shallied over a pro-creationist argument; I pointed out how stupid his reasoning was. The response was insane; criticize Adams, and his horde of Dilbert fans will descend on you like a cloud of pea-brained locusts. Adams took a stab at the subject again, proposing that at least we ought to teach it as an alternative to evolution, an old and tiresome argument that I thoroughly despise. Basically, Adams just outed himself as a feeble hack making tepid arguments that only a creationist could believe.

Oh, and the most common lame defense: Scott Adams shouldn’t ever be taken seriously, because he’s always just joking to get a rise out of people. That would be acceptable, if ever he’d said anything intelligent on the subject, if his whole argument wasn’t based on common creationist canards, and if his fanbase weren’t taking his every word so damned seriously, as if he’d given them some deep insight.

That’s the history. I hadn’t read the Dilbert blog in ages, so I don’t know if Adams has since continued his wishy-washy creationism. Now I see on OmniBrain that yes, Scott Adams has written another post on intelligent design, and yes, if anything, Scott Adams has become even more stupid in the intervening months Here’s his key argument for assigning intelligence to the universe.

I take the practical approach — that something is intelligent if it unambiguously performs tasks that require intelligence. Writing Moby Dick required intelligence. The Big Bang wrote Moby Dick. Therefore, the Big Bang is intelligent, and you and I are created by that same intelligence. Therefore, we are created by an intelligent entity.

It’s a wee bit circular, don’t you think? He’s defining intelligence by assuming that the only process that can create intelligence is driven by intelligence; I’d simply rebut him by challenging his assumption, and say that the process that created the being who wrote Moby Dick did not require intelligent guidance (as we already know—the processes that drive evolution do not require active intervention by any intelligent agent), therefore there is no reason to call a prior process like the Big Bang “intelligent”. He’s also managed to put together an argument for an intelligent designer that requires us to conclude that everything in the universe is intelligent: phosphorylation is intelligent, sperm are intelligent, carrots are intelligent, bacteria are intelligent, interstellar dust is intelligent. I suspect that there’s a self-serving motive involved—he had to really reach to come up with a definition that would allow him to claim that Scott Adams is intelligent.

It’s nice to see that one constant on the internet is that Scott Adams is still a babbling idiot. If any of his defenders want to claim that “hey, he’s just being funny!” that’s fine, as long as you’re willing to admit that his chosen style of humor is to pretend to be a colossal boob…and that he’s suckered many of his readers into thinking that his intentionally absurd ideas are brilliant.


So predictable…

Here’s a lesson for you: criticize Scott Adams, and you will receive a deluge of Dilbonian hate mail. Virtually all of it is saying exactly the same thing: “You failed the humor test”; “Adams was being ironic”; “Adams isn’t a creationist, he’s pulling your chain”. Part of it is taking a different, overtly creationist tack: “The Big Bang didn’t happen, so you ought to be able to tell it’s a joke”; “You professors don’t understand anything”; and then there are the long-winded discourses on why Adams is exactly right, and that he has seen the mind of God, and his argument is irrefutable.

Listen, Dilbonians: you can stop telling me I have no sense of humor. I know it already. I also know that Scott Adams has a piss-poor sense of humor, too. I’d be more inclined to believe that he was mocking creationist thinking if a) everything he has written on evolution, creation, and science hadn’t had exactly the same tone and advanced the same point of view, which seems to be, basically, that Scott Adams knows better than every scientist on the planet, and b) his fans were a little less enthusiastic in supporting every turd of faux-wisdom that drips from his mouth. Read the comments; his readers aren’t treating this as a hilarious send-up of religious thinking. Maybe Adams is a true cynic who has purposely cultivated a collection of acolytes who are stupid enough to believe the amazingly stupid things he writes, but I don’t think that is an accomplishment that would insulate him from criticism.

Oh, and those of you complaining that Adams is not a creationist: look up David Berlinski. There is a lot in common there: the same supercilious and inflated sense of intellectual self-worth, the same mocking tone, the same knee-jerk rejection of anyone else’s expertise, as if the fact that some people know much more in some discipline than he does is a personal insult. He’s an anti-science hack who probably also rejects authorities on the creationist side because they do not defer to his superior intelligence, either.

Comments

  1. #1 Cairnarvon
    January 30, 2007

    This is disappointing. Adams seemed to be going in the right direction for a bit, with his posts on atheism (one of which got reposted to RichardDawkins.net), but this is just pathetic.

  2. #2 Steven
    January 30, 2007

    Crazy. It’s like I have to do a background check on everyone before you take what they say seriously. The amount of people out there that believe stupid shit astounds me more and more every day. Any new book I want to read I need to do a quick google and wiki search to check the author isn’t a creationist evolution botherer.

  3. #3 thaumaturge
    January 30, 2007

    Huh. Well, there goes any remaining respect I might have had for that guy.

  4. #4 jeffk
    January 30, 2007

    Seriously? Are you people really this dense? The article has NOTHING TO DO WITH CREATIONISM. PZ has a chip on his shoulder, and I can see he has no problem rallying the sheep. Ali and Hans up here are the most recent examples, but the rest of you need to learn how to read and think for yourselves. Otherwise you’re no better than the young-earthers.

  5. #5 donna
    January 30, 2007

    Scott Adams ceased to be funny years ago.

  6. #6 dorid
    January 30, 2007

    Adam’s argument (that you must have quality A to create quality A) is the same one Augustine used in On the Trinity to justify the diety of Jesus. He’s in good company that way I guess.

    oh, and Augustine later recanted that argument. Maybe Adams will do the same?

  7. #7 Russell Blackford
    January 31, 2007

    Of course, if he is by any chance being serious someone should point out that Descartes ran a similar argument (in his case arguing for the existence of God) way back in the 17th century and it’s a very long time since anyone has taken it seriously. I hope he’s not setting up shop as a philosopher.

  8. #8 Russell Blackford
    January 31, 2007

    Ah, I’ve now read his explanation on the other blog, which seems clear enough.

  9. #9 Sonja
    January 31, 2007

    I had a brief email dialog with Scott Adams way back in 1998 — that was when I discovered that he was a New Age loon.

    In fact, this is how I discovered Pharyngula! In July 2006 I got curious again if Mr. Adams had discovered the error of his thinking. I did some Googling and ran across PZ’s fabulous reply. I was so proud to see it was written by someone that lived right here in my home state of Minnesota and I’ve been a loyal Pharyngula reader ever since.

    I don’t know if anyone remembers a rather odd series of Dilbert comics in about 1998 where Adams was making fun of the irrationality of skeptics. They were so odd that I got curious and took a look at his website. It was then that I learned he was really into some goofy New Age stuff.

    I was most puzzled by this Adams letter replying to the Illinois Skeptics. Scott Adams says:

    On the scale of one to ten, with ten being a complete skeptic, I’m a twelve. I’m skeptical about all the things that skeptics are skeptical about, plus I go farther. I’m also skeptical about the limits of the scientific method. While I believe the scientific method is a wonderfully useful tool, proven many times, it is not logically applicable to 100% of all questions about reality.

    So what method does Scott Adams use to answer the questions about reality? Whatever is fun and makes him rich (I’m not kidding, read his stuff).

  10. #10 Saint Gasoline
    January 31, 2007

    I have a hard time believing Adams is being serious here. I mean, he can’t honestly believe that when he drops a pencil and picks it up, it makes sense to think that the Big Bang is also picking up the pencil.

    This is just so obviously wrong that I refuse to believe anyone could be so dumb to propose it seriously. He has to be joking…right?

    I mean, I could find where he lives and punch him in the face for writing this drivel, and I doubt he’d forgive me when I explained that he was actually punching himself in the face because it was his idiotic rant about intelligence that first caused me to punch him.

  11. #11 Chris Clarke
    January 31, 2007

    Shorter jeffk: “I don’t understand the connection. Therefore, you’re all stupid.”

  12. #12 James
    January 31, 2007

    Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself!

  13. #13 Caledonian
    January 31, 2007

    There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

    It’s not literally true, or universally true, but generally so. And your collective responses do not constitute bad publicity as I understand the concept.

    The ability to manipulate and anticipate the reactions of other people is a very useful skill, which although not part of traditional conceptions of intelligence, is highly associated with success. Adams may not be particularly bright in a general sense, but clearly he’s bright enough – and brighter than you’re being.

  14. #14 Andrew
    January 31, 2007

    Here’s how it looks from this part of the UK.

    1. Most people don’t think much/at all about this sort of thing (life, the universe and everything) because they have more important things to do (earning a crust, raising their children, having fun).
    2. Those of us who subscribe to Pharyngula; read Dawkins, Dennett and Harris; argue about this stuff are what we’d call ‘anoraks’ on this side of the pond. It means, ‘nerds’ but nerds of everything. My guess is that that most of the posters here are, like me, atheist anoraks. Hands up all those who listen to the Point of Inquiry podcast……there, see what I mean. How many posters here are women….that’s right, virtually none: women, by definition, can’t be nerds or anoraks.
    3. Based on 1 and 2 we can see that Scott Adams is just a regular guy – hasn’t thought about the god/no god thing much (certainly not as much as we have!) – and he’s just doodling with the idea as many people would.

    My father-in-law is the only person I know in the real world who actually gives a damn about all this stuff: most people have too much else going on in their lives to worry abuot the stuff we think is important. (He is, incidentally, a PAP agnostic in Dawkins’ terms, but I won’t bore you with that story now.)

  15. #15 Great White Wonder
    January 31, 2007

    The ability to manipulate and anticipate the reactions of other people is a very useful skill, which although not part of traditional conceptions of intelligence, is highly associated with success. Adams may not be particularly bright in a general sense, but clearly he’s bright enough – and brighter than you’re being.

    HA! I knew you’d say something stupid like this way back when when I encouraged PZ to keep it up with these threads. Through PZ, I manipulated you, Calbaloneyium! MOO HOO HOO HAW HAW HAW!!!!

  16. #16 Great White Wonder
    January 31, 2007

    I can’t wait to read Ed Brayton’s analysis of this post.

  17. #17 the c
    January 31, 2007

    This is exactly the argument (Adam’s argument) Dawkins’ refuted in his book “The Blind Watchmaker”.

  18. #18 MartinC
    January 31, 2007

    “women, by definition, can’t be nerds or anoraks.”
    Andrew, get ready for the attack of the Femi-nerdies.

  19. #19 rossi
    January 31, 2007

    Just because you don’t agree with Adam’s opinion, doesn’t make him wrong and you right.

    that’s called arrogance my friend

  20. #20 -----
    January 31, 2007

    Dr. Myers, I fear you may look too hard for creationist stupidity on the internet. Let’s try to remember here that Scott Adams is not aiming for the same target audience that you are aiming for. His readers are not scientists. He himself is not a scientist. He is not trying to propose serious alternative scientific theories.

    All he is doing in this post is pointing out an error in the way some (most) people might define intelligence. Sure, science may have a thousand better ways of defining it, but (a) most people don’t know what they are, and (b) his point is not entirely serious, which you seem to be ignoring. Of course he doesn’t think the Big Bang is intelligent. And I didn’t think that was too hard to see, given the context of the post.

    Perhaps you have spent too much time around right wing creationist nutjobs to be able to spot irony…

  21. #21 Owen
    January 31, 2007

    I have to second (third?) the suggestion that everyone reads Scott’s comment at:

    http://scienceblogs.com/omnibrain/2007/01/the_dilbert_blog_weighs_in_on.php

    You might still think he’s wrong, but you can’t accuse him of being serious about the intelligence of the big bang. The context is important: Scott thinks the illusion of free will is, well, an illusion, and he’s made several posts on that topic. This most recent is just another on that theme.

  22. #22 zilch
    January 31, 2007

    “I take the practical approach – that something is fascist if it unambiguously performs tasks that require fascism. Writing Mein Kampf required fascism. The Big Bang wrote Mein Kampf. Therefore, the Big Bang is a Nazi, and you and I are created by that same Nazi. Therefore, we are created by an Nazi entity.”

    After having read a few of Adams’ ramblings over at his blog, I find that while it is mildly amusing to skewer his disinformation and illogic, it is unlikely to have any salutary effect on him or his readers, because he is
    a) obviously just trying to provoke “controversy” and/or be “funny”, and
    b) obviously not sure himself what he really “believes”.

  23. #23 Tim
    January 31, 2007

    Actually, it struck me as funny when I first read Adams’ blog, and it still does. It’s a sendup of the creationist theories, if anything. In point of fact, far from being a lonesome crank, he’s rather close to Taoist and Buddhist beliefs here.

    Some days he’s just funnier than others, but he rarely seems to take anything seriously. The irony is that so many readers here (and even the blogger) take Adams’ statements seriously. I think Adams has accomplished something truly remarkable: He’s pissed off both atheists and creationists with one blog entry.

    I hate to intrude some Puckisms into a catfight, but this debate about religious belief isn’t world-shaking. It’s funny. The truth will never change, no matter what philosophical shades the combatants wear, and endless wrangling is merely a form of entertainment. Adams has shown himself to be an extremely talented court jester, messing with people on all sides of the issue and getting enormous notoriety and profit from it.

  24. #24 Steve LaBonne
    January 31, 2007

    “Will Scott Adams never learn?” No, Scott Adams will never learn. This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

  25. #25 AndrewC
    January 31, 2007

    “Better duck, Andrew; there are a lot of razor-sharp female nerds who comment on this blog”

    “Andrew, get ready for the attack of the Femi-nerdies.”

    I’ve taken cover – reassured to hear that we’re not all chaps!

    On my original point, there are an awful lot of intelligent people out there who haven’t thought much about IDism, evolution, life, the universe etc. I was talking to an Oxford educated lawyer recently who started on the ‘evolution is just a theory’ line: undoubtedly a clever man but he simply hadn’t got his head around this stuff.

  26. #26 Blake Stacey
    January 31, 2007

    He was either saying dumb things because he honestly believed them, or because he wanted to provoke people. Turns out it’s the latter. In neither case is what he wrote actually funny.

    Right up top, PZ said the following:

    Oh, and the most common lame defense: Scott Adams shouldn’t ever be taken seriously, because he’s always just joking to get a rise out of people. That would be acceptable, if ever he’d said anything intelligent on the subject, if his whole argument wasn’t based on common creationist canards, and if his fanbase weren’t taking his every word so damned seriously, as if he’d given them some deep insight.

    Damn straight. Lesson to all you Colbert wanna-bes out there: more wit. Being stupid in a smart way is hard; that’s why Voltaire’s Pangloss is immortal and why everybody I know prefers Borat over Ali G.

    In my personal judgment, which is obviously in accord with the fundamental aesthetic scale of the Cosmos, Dilbert hasn’t been funny in six years, maybe seven. That’s why God gave us Sinfest.

  27. #27 wintermute
    January 31, 2007

    I used to be a big fan of Dilbert (It’s been kind of coasting for a few years), so when I heard that he was starting a blog, I was interested to see it.

    I think I read it for about a month before I decided that he was certifiably hatstand, and that every post made me dumber. And that went double for the various posts on ID, which as I recall, ended up with something like “Anyone who relies on the authority of scientists or creationists rather than doing the research themselves is a fool. But now a judge has listened to both sides, and come up with The Answer. So, by accepting the judge’s second-hand decision, I am smarter than all of you.”

    But on the plus side, it got me reading Pharyngula. So, thank you Scott Adams for being such a certifiable moron.

    Hrm, I wonder if he’s related to that other cartoonist moron, Neal “I solved geology” Adams

  28. #28 jason
    January 31, 2007

    wow you really are an idiot! scott adams’ blog is meant to be funny, and it generally is. that post which you quote out of context was completely tongue-in-cheek…only a reductionist maroon (apparently such as yourself) could take it literally. i can imagine how boring and intolerant you must be as a ‘teacher’ too…your students probably learn more by staring out the window or reading dilbert comics. in fact if the whole ‘associate professor’ thing doesn’t pan out your lack of imagination and tolerance indicate that you’d make a great middle manager.

    get a life. and don’t ever watch colbert or the daily show because you’ll no doubt take it literally and then i might have to accidentally read your idiotic misinterpretation and waste another 5 minutes of my life.

  29. #29 Bob
    January 31, 2007

    So, wait… I’m obviously missing something. I just took it for granted that Scott Adams was a master of irony, and left it at that. The postings you refer to – to me they read as ironic stabs against the “head up your own butt” logic that most creationists go in for.

    So I have to wonder : do you know the meaning of irony?

    (hint: it dosen’t mean “sort of like iron”)

  30. #30 jan andrea
    January 31, 2007

    I lost all respect for Adams many years ago, when I read “The Dilbert Principle” (I *think* that was the one). There’s a chapter where he says, in essence, “Wishing makes it so.” Seriously. It may not be that volume in particular, but he goes on about how he’d write his goal (wish) 10 times per day, and at the end of some unspecified amount of time, he’d reach his goal (get his wish). I was dumbfounded — seriously, he thinks that the act of writing down his wish will make it come true?! — but on re-reading, that was indeed what he was saying.

    Unreal.

  31. #31 Ric
    January 31, 2007

    Wow, Adams could not have put together a worse, more illogical argument if he tried. The Big Bang actually picked up the pencil I just picked up? Whaaaa?

  32. #32 Rick @ shrimp and grits
    January 31, 2007

    Yes, I have gone and read his post, and yes, as I suspected it is all a big joke. Sort of. Right?

    That post at the Dilbert blog reminded me a lot of the kind of answers studests give on essay questions when they realizes they don’t know anything about the topic and decide to be cute to see if they can get some partial credit.

  33. #33 Dangling Participle
    January 31, 2007

    Since no one seemed to follow the link:

    Regarding Dembski’s definition of intelligence, “choose” is a concept used by superstitious people who believe in free will.

    Intelligence “chooses” exactly the same way a coin sorting machine “chooses” which tube the nickel goes in. It’s just physics. Your brain is a more complicated coin sorter.

    Yes, my definition of intelligence is circular nonsense. That’s the point. Any definition of intelligence is nonsense. So it makes no sense to talk of an intelligent designer if no one knows what it means.

    Too subtle?

  34. #34 dveej
    January 31, 2007

    Andy Cunningham, your comment is SO unfair!!!

    The amount of news on the BBC World News RSS feed that is worth reading is AT LEAST 7% on a good day!!!

  35. #35 Owen
    January 31, 2007

    Only in the sense that Adams hides behind his persona as a jokester. He’s a man with an inflated sense of his intellectual abilities who resents anyone else’s expression of superior knowledge — evolutionary biology is an offense to him because he doesn’t understand it, so he occasionally takes these ignorant potshots at it.

    I for one would love to see you explain to him where he’s wrong about evolutionary biology.

    Not by being angry or sharp like you did last time, but by calmly explaining what he’s got wrong. (And yes, I believe he’s got most of it wrong.) I think there’s a fighting chance he might engage, and could be persuaded of his mistakes (like ever having taken the arguments of the ID-crowd even remotely seriously).

    You’re a real scientist who knows his stuff. Please consider trying to convince Adams, rather than humiliate him.

  36. #36 Orac
    January 31, 2007

    But you didn’t give him one. Despite the fact that everything you said was correct, your whole tone was so belittling and negative that you effectively guaranteed he wouldn’t respond positively. Where there was the chance to convince a well-known and highly-regarded popular figure to change his mind on a contentious issue, you instead provided him with (as he would see it) more evidence of the narrow-mindedness of scientists!

    Oh, please. Adams’ mistakes have been explained to him via various blogs and correspondence time and time again; he keeps repeating them. Ridicule is entirely appropriate.

  37. #37 MomSquared
    January 31, 2007

    Oh, I guess people have already said what I said.

    Sorry.

  38. #38 Daniel Martin
    January 31, 2007

    I really think that Dilbert jumped the shark sometime around Jan. 2000, and it’s just been downhill since then.

    The most recent low point was when he wrote himself as the cartoonist into the strip for a few days.

    He should do what the creator of Fox Trot did, and cut back so as to try something else. (Or do as the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, and simply declare his works finished) I miss daily Fox Trot comics, but I respect the artist’s choice to stop them rather than plod along forever until you end up like Jonny Hart.

  39. #39 Jason Lancaster
    January 31, 2007

    I don’t get it. Why do you care so much? He’s allowed to think things just as you think things and say things just as you say things. You sound just as absurd when you start kicking him around like you have.

  40. #40 aximili
    January 31, 2007

    But PZ, you didn’t dismiss him (and I don’t think rudeness is ever the most appropriate response, even to stupidity). You insulted and ridiculed him. At worst, all he did was tell an odd and un-funny joke, on his own blog, to his own readers. Hardly worth the vitriol you directed at him.

    And yes, his style of humor is, at least on occasion, to pretend to be a colossal boob. And most of his readers who claim to admire his brilliance are also just playing along.

    PZ, you have a great blog and I’ve been reading it for a long time (and will continue to do so), but this time you’re the one who’s coming across as silly.

  41. #41 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2007

    If Scott Adams wrote the post on Omnibrain ( http://scienceblogs.com/omnibrain/2007/01/the_dilbert_blog_weighs_in_on.php#comment-329531 ), then he knows both that ID and free will are crocks. I don’t know if it was he who wrote it, but at least the free will comments reflect what Adams has put into “Dilbert”.

    However, he did write the blog piece at least, and whether he intended it to be funny and ironic, it didn’t come off that way very well, unless it does to the regular readers of his blog.

    So I’ll respond to what was written. The fact of the matter is that in some meaningful sense (but not in some other equally meaningful senses), the universe has simply been computing a course ever since the Big Bang. That is to say, information is processed, increased, and used to make planets, cause evolution, and to eventually incorporate animal intelligence into its computing. I like this picture particularly when we’re looking at something as nebulous as “intelligence”, as intelligence has absolutely no meaning except as another physics phenomenon processing information like everything else that exists does. There are peculiarities with respect to animal and human intelligence, recursivity and consciousness above especially, but there’s nothing special about the information-processing in our brains, it simply fits a certain evolved animal’s needs.

    So the real point is that information interacts and produces the universe, including us, and it may be called “computation” if one wants to broaden the definition beyond the traditional meaning. As such, no, the universe isn’t “intelligent”, it is a computer, and we are more properly merely a part of said computer, doing nothing really extraordinary in the physics sense whatsoever.

    The person at Omnibrain who claims to be Scott Adams is quite correct regarding both intelligence and free will. Neither has an independent meaning, which is one of the fundamental problems in ID (most, if not all, IDists assume that intelligence itself is magical, hence their magical view of life precedes their “conclusion” that its origin is magical). Our information processing is only a subset of the universe’s ability to process information, and is completely dependent upon the latter ability. As such, only evolution explains “intelligence”, and in fact we can only study “intelligence” according to the physical sciences, including evolution.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  42. #42 Rick @ shrimp and grits
    January 31, 2007

    This is the only story of mine whose moral I know. I don’t think it’s a marvellous moral, I simply happen to know what it is: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

    –Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

  43. #43 George
    January 31, 2007

    But PZ, you didn’t dismiss him (and I don’t think rudeness is ever the most appropriate response, even to stupidity). You insulted and ridiculed him. At worst, all he did was tell an odd and un-funny joke, on his own blog, to his own readers. Hardly worth the vitriol you directed at him.

    Who are his own readers? Last I looked, anybody can read that blog.

    He is spreading stupidity and PZ was right to nail him for it.

    And there’s more today.

    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/01/your_best_objec.html

    Your Best Objections
    I got lots of thoughtful comments to yesterday’s post on whether the Big Bang was intelligent by definition. I wasn’t planning on following up on the topic, but I feel I owe it to you. Here are the top objections that people raised, along with my replies. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, read it first.

    Objection 1: The Big Bang is an event, not a thing.

    I think most people realized I was referring to both the universe and what it did. People are the sum of their matter plus their actions. The universe is a sum of its matter plus its actions. To keep things simple and colorful, I’m going to call the universe and everything it does the Big Bang.

    Objection 2: The Big Bang had no intentions. Intelligence requires intention.

    You can’t have intentions without free will. And free will is an illusion, according to plenty of prominent scientists and big thinkers. At best, free will has never been defined in any way that would not apply equally to a human or a coin sorting machine. The coin sorter “chooses” which tube to redirect the nickel to in a deterministic fashion. Your brain chooses what to have for lunch in the same way, just more complicated, and with the illusion of intention. The Big Bang (okay, the universe) has no intentions, but neither do you, because it’s a nonsense superstition. You only have the illusion of intentions. So intentions must not be a necessary component of intelligence.

    Objection 3: According to evolution, unintelligent processes can cause emergent phenomena, such as intelligence. The Big Bang was an unintelligent process, and the intelligence emerged later. (Implied: Duh!)

    By this reasoning, people are not intelligent either. People are a collection of dumb molecules. The intelligence we exhibit is an emergent property of people, not a quality of the people themselves. No molecule in a human body is itself smart. Yet we still say the person as a whole is intelligent. And we generously include as “the person” all of his body parts that are not directly involved in producing intelligence. Your lungs, for example, are every bit as important as your brain in supporting the emergent intelligence you produce. They are both 100% necessary.

    If I build a computer and the computer creates a spreadsheet, we don’t credit the computer with the creation. We credit the one who created and programmed the computer. People are every bit the machines as computers, but more complicated and moist. The Big Bang created people, and is therefore the ultimate author of what we in turn create. (Remember, we have no free will. We’re just like the computer in that way.)

    Objection 4: But what created the Big Bang!

    If there was a “before” to the Big Bang, I have no problem including it in the process and calling it intelligent. But there is no evidence to persuade me that time even existed before the Big Bang, so “before” might be a nonsense concept. And I certainly have no evidence for a sort of God with a personality and a to-do list.

    Objection 5: It’s just semantics. All you did was say that whatever produces intelligent results must be intelligent. It’s a circular definition.

    Of course it’s semantics. That’s the whole point. We’re trying to figure out what the word “intelligent” means. If the best definition that anyone can offer is circular, then it’s silly to say the universe does or does not have an intelligent designer. The phrase would have no meaning. But if we CAN define intelligence in some meaningful way, then we might be surprised to find that the definition applies equally to humans as to the Big Bang. (After you remove your superstition about intentions, and clear up your thinking about emergent properties.)

    Objection 6: Dawkins said, “An intelligent life is intelligent enough to speculate on its own origins.”

    My cat has intelligence, but I doubt she’s doing much speculating on her origins.

    I think those were the best objections I got. Let me know if I missed any objections that are better than the ones I listed.

  44. #44 Sonja
    January 31, 2007

    Forgive me, but I also have to address Andrews’ side topic. I’m another female nerd, but I do understand Andrew’s point.

    I work in the technology field and am often the only woman on a staff. I work with guys that read huge manuals on Cisco router security — for fun. I’ve always had an aptitude for science and technology, but I am much more balanced than the men I work with. Less depth, more breadth.

    This blog is great because it also covers politics and philosophy. If PZ would occasionally throw in some classical music or architecture, it would be perfect.

  45. #45 jeffk
    January 31, 2007

    “…supercilious and inflated sense of intellectual self-worth, the same mocking tone, the same knee-jerk rejection of anyone else’s expertise…”

    Wow, PZ, that’s a pretty accurate description of you. Maybe that’s why Adams seems to get under your skin so much. Someone needs to take you down a peg – humorless, self-important twits like you aren’t exactly helping the godless movement.

  46. #46 RickD
    January 31, 2007

    “Hi my name is Jeffk”

    (Hi, Jeff!)

    “And I do content-free ad hominem arguments”

    (Welcome to the club!)

  47. #47 SteveM
    January 31, 2007

    Adams is clearly being satirical. I see it as an attack on Intelligent Design since the argument is that the only “design” is due to natural processes so IF their is any intelligence to it then you have to ascribe it to all of nature all the way back to the big bang. It is a satirical application of the “prime mover” argument to ID. It also seems extremely petty to go off like this attacking a satirist for presenting an extreme (and absurd) opinion. It is like attacking Colbert for being a right wing demagogue or Oscar Wilde for being a cannibal.

  48. #48 jeffk
    January 31, 2007

    Rick, I just think it’s kind of sad that PZ feels the need to slam a cartoonist’s blog posts. Do the Dilbert guy’s quasi-intellectual noodlings really fucking matter? It seems to me that he’s just playing with the definition and idea of intelligence, not trying to prove ID – in fact, that’s the LAST thing he’s trying to do.

    I’ve been a subscriber here for a few months now, and I generally really enjoy the content, but this is just stupid. If PZ wants to go after the people who are teaching our children that people and dinosaurs coexisted, then fine. He should, in fact. But the talking-dog comic-strip guy? Really? That’s kind of pathetic.

  49. #49 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2007

    Oh, Christ, Adams is as stupid in his explanation as he was in his “irony”. The genetic fallacy continues to be his mode of “reasoning”, as if we can never get to something that may sensibly mean “intelligence” via emergentism.

    Adams is right that there is no “intelligence” as the IDists mean it to be (metaphysical, magical), but he’s an idiot if he thinks that Dawkins doesn’t use the word properly. Intelligence is a recursive system of information processing found in biological entities–humans and animals–and it is thus able to be recognized and studied.

    Actually, even “free will” can be, too, it just has to be understood as having no meaning in the IDist and religious senses. But the plainest sense of “free will” as the term covering the sense that people have of a certain self-acting and free entity does have meaning, even though the additional cultural artifact that claims that we “cause ourselves” cannot be true.

    Above all, the whole point of using a different term for “human intelligence” than we use for cosmic expansion and planetary evolution is that it is in many ways different from the latter phenomena. This is mostly due to evolution and the way in which it causes and enhances recursive information-processing in animals, and like evolution, it is worthy of study. Adams’ mindless belief that definitions must rest upon fundamentally different phenomena, rather than upon qualitatively and quantitatively differing causal cascades, would impede science as much as any IDist tries to impede it.

    That is to say, he’s about as metaphysically oriented as the IDists, one reason why he doesn’t understand evolution and how it makes things which are substantially different from what “natural processes” (note the scare quotes) and “intelligence” (note the scare quotes again–I know that intelligence is a “natural process” in the scientific sense of the latter term) make. “Intelligence” will never describe the Big Bang, not unless computing and intelligence come to mean the same thing.

    Adams has no idea of how words are defined in science, so he resorts to the same conflation of terms that IDists do, only here he denies that “intelligence” is even a meaningful term, instead of coming to a different conclusion than that of the other IDiots. It’s a somewhat useful for Adams to show how the IDist “reasoning” can as readily lead to the notion that the Big Bang is intelligent, as that some other “intelligence” gave rise to life (many others have noted how Dembski’s definition of “intelligence” makes natural selection, and probably every other process, “intelligent”), but his conclusion is every bit as stupid as the IDists’ is.

    And of course it’s true that “intelligence” is not, nor can it be, clearly demarcated from other physical processes. So what? That’s every bit as true of “life”. I suppose the next thing Adams will do will be to expose the fact that nothing actually is “alive”, attempting to bring even more nihilistic bullshit into the English language.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  50. #50 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2007

    Rick, I just think it’s kind of sad that PZ feels the need to slam a cartoonist’s blog posts. Do the Dilbert guy’s quasi-intellectual noodlings really fucking matter? It seems to me that he’s just playing with the definition and idea of intelligence, not trying to prove ID – in fact, that’s the LAST thing he’s trying to do.

    I think you’ve got a point there, all right. In fact I saw Adams’ blog yesterday, toyed with bringing it up on some anti-ID forum, and thought “who the hell cares what he says?” Whether he’s right or wrong, why must we concern ourselves with the prattlings of some relatively uneducated engineer?

    If his comics were hot at the present time, maybe, just because people listen to anyone who’s supposed to be “cool”. But “Dilbert” hasn’t been anything other than filler for the paper, like nearly all of the rest of the comics, for at least 10 years.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  51. #51 redstripe
    January 31, 2007

    Sheesh. Adams is an idiot (on this subject), and I can’t believe people are actually claiming, on his behalf, that the post was satirical. First, nothing in the post itself (other than its sheer stupidity) indicates that it is satire. Second, even if it was satire, it’s still retarded.

    I understand that Adams is a Mensa member. Recently, I’ve been thinking of taking the test, so I’ve been poking around for opinions of the group. For the most part, people seem to regard Mensans as Adams-style blowhards–inflated egos and intellectual dilettantes who assume their above-average tested IQ qualifies them as experts in any subject.

    (I’ll probably still take the test, but if I make it, I think I’ll leave it off my rÚsumÚ.)

  52. #52 stogoe
    January 31, 2007

    As has been stated over and over and over ad nauseum, Adams’ classic post-deflection ‘But I was just pretending to be a colossal boob. Funny ha-ha. Get it? Naaaaaarggh!’ is not useful. It’s a pathetic backpedal, and it always wins back the dilbo-heads.

  53. #53 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2007

    I understand that Adams is a Mensa member. Recently, I’ve been thinking of taking the test, so I’ve been poking around for opinions of the group. For the most part, people seem to regard Mensans as Adams-style blowhards–inflated egos and intellectual dilettantes who assume their above-average tested IQ qualifies them as experts in any subject.

    What I’ve heard (I’ve never really thought about trying out for it) is that about half are blowhards, DaveScot-like idiots (though I have to suppose that DaveTard tried out and failed, or we’d hear about his Mensa triumph) who drivel (probably dribble, too) on about themselves, and try to make something of the fact that they really could do something smart even though they never have. The other half are relatively decent folk who just would like some challenges.

    Like one of the ex-Mensa guys said, though, guess who shows up at, and dominates, the meetings?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  54. #54 Steve_C
    January 31, 2007

    So Adams is just a putz. He really doesn’t care about anything other than getting attention.
    If he’s being satirical… he’s doing a poor job. If he’s being ironic then he’s too obtuse.

    For any of that to work you have to show some understanding of the topic… the wink wink nudge nudge aspect is necessary… you can’t wink at both sides of the argument.

  55. #55 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2007

    I don’t see why “intelligence” must equal “intelligent enough to speculate about its own origins”.

    Yeah, Dawkins didn’t get that part right. It probably leaves out most human intelligence prior to the development of language.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  56. #56 Owen
    January 31, 2007

    [Orac] Oh, please. Adams’ mistakes have been explained to him via various blogs and correspondence time and time again; he keeps repeating them. Ridicule is entirely appropriate.

    I wasn’t talking about the ridicule this time, I was talking about the first time evolution came up. Before anyone had tried reason, we jumped straight to ridicule.

    And his mistakes have been explained? Perhaps. But not by PZ. PZ gave Adams a kicking, and it doesn’t matter that everything PZ said was true. Nobody (well, almost nobody) is going to change their mind after being savaged, even if there is nothing technically wrong with the savaging.

  57. #57 Tony Whitson
    January 31, 2007

    I haven’t read all the comments above, so maybe I shouldn’t say anything; but it seems to me this is a simple matter:

    Doesn’t Adams’ argument amount to saying that the pointy-haired manager must be intelligent, if the creations of Dilbert and the other engineers show intelligence in their design?

  58. #58 Orac
    January 31, 2007

    My take on Adams is that he’s kind of a New Age guy who both buys into and spins his very own eclectic brand of woo. He’s a great commentator on office politics, but not at all a competent commentator on science.

    From my perspective, you are correct. In fact, Adams is starting to resemble Deepak Chopra a bit whenever he goes off on this stuff.

  59. #59 Ruminator
    January 31, 2007

    Dear PZ,

    I believe that you and Mr. Adams are of the same basic belief set. It’s just a simple, but unfortunate, case of Mr. Adams not flagging his comments as <Sarcasm & Irony On> blah blah blah </Sarcasm & Irony Off>.

    Mr. Adams is almost certainly an atheist. I’ve read posts in which he was much more serious and seemed to enjoy skewering people closer to the Fundamentalist end of the Fundamentalist-to-Atheist scale of beliefs.

    I think these postings you were so frustrated with were Mr. Adams attempting to be funny and to follow absurd concepts to their logical conclusion, but to highlight how ludicrous and silly those beliefs were by doing this.

    But everyone who has sworn off “Dilbert” as a result of Mr. Adams’ blog, I would encourage you to read the totality of what Mr. Adams has posted on his site. I don’t think he’s carrying water for Creationists or any other -ists. Rather, I think he’s just having a fun time with words.

    But I do think he’s serious in his discussions of philosophy concerning free will and his statement that it is an illusion. And then again, I’m not even certain of that because he could be yanking my metaphorical chain.

    So I say, “Please keep reading Pharnyngula, and also keep reading Dilbert, and everyone go read Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, so you can get a feel for irony and sarcasm.”

    Those who became filled with wrath over Mr. Adams’ postings, please take a step back, take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Mr. Adams is a cartoonist and humorist. Some of his jokes I will find funny, and others will arrive DOA with my humor detector, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone over to the Irrational, anti-Luddite, Ban-Evolution-Theory-from-Schools-side either.”

  60. #60 Daphne
    January 31, 2007

    RE: Mensa

    Redstripe & Glen D., I share your opinions on Mensa. I came to similar conclusions when my college boyfriend took the test and passed it. He was smart, but certainly no genius. He was very proud of membership though, and while showing me the card he carried in his wallet, a mutual friend walked by, glanced at the card, and said, “Isn’t that the group that likes to have sex with boys?” I never saw Dave with that card again.
    –Daphne

  61. #61 PZ Myers
    January 31, 2007

    Oh, man, I forgot that other standard response of Dilbonians.

    #1 is “He’s just joking, he’s playing with your head.” It’s an admission that he’s trolling.

    #2 is “He’s just a cartoonist — there’s something wrong with you if you respond to him.”

    They don’t seem to notice the irony of their desperate efforts to defend such a trivial joker.

  62. #62 craig
    January 31, 2007

    Adams’ blog: funny blog or serious blog, I dunno, I haven’t read it. But it does it say something about it, I think, that those who have come here from there to complain sound like foul-mouthed 12 year old brats.

  63. #63 Steve_C
    January 31, 2007

    “Don’t pick on Adams for “acting” like an idiot! he’s not! you’re mean.”

  64. #64 jeffk
    January 31, 2007

    Chris, I’ve never owned a Dilbert book, and I’ve read maybe a dozen or so Dilbert strips in my life. I’ve read his blog posts before – somebody forwarded me a link to his I-got-my-voice-back post – but I subscribe to Pharyngula and read it every day. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see PZ acting like such a child. Makes me wish I’d voted for Bad Astronomy.

    Nice of you to assume, though.

  65. #65 Steve_C
    January 31, 2007

    Jeff you’re so very ‘concerned’.

    How is criticism behaving badly?

    Quit behaving badly.

  66. #66 Markie
    January 31, 2007

    PZ, your not “mean” your fucking hilarious!! IMHO. Keep up the great work, I loved the post and laughed my butt off reading the comments. I hope Adams writes more on this subject soon!!

  67. #67 jeffk
    January 31, 2007

    Steve, I’m just tired of all these “intellectuals” who are so far up their own rear ends that they lose sight of themselves and turn into self-aggrandizing, pompous tools. As much as I agree with PZ and the commenters here in general, the attitude gets old after a while. There’s a profound difference between knowing it all and being a know-it-all. Some people here would do well to figure that out if they ever want their message to extend beyond the already-converted.

  68. #68 notthedroids
    January 31, 2007

    Dilbert fans accusing other people of not having a sense of humor. The irony is rich.

  69. #69 llewelly
    January 31, 2007

    But I contend it started with ridicule, and that was a mistake. As is the way of such discussions, there are now entrenched positions and reasonable discourse becomes hard to the point of being impossible.

    It would have been a good idea for scientists to set aside the fact that God’s Debris was (among other things) ridicule of scientific thought, and inoffensively demonstrate how misinformed it was. It would still be a good idea. However we live in a culture where nearly every conceivable way of saying that someone is misinformed is usually interpreted as an insult. This makes inoffensive demonstrates that someone is misinformed quite difficult. Worse – most of Scott Adams’ fan-base devoutly believes that Scott Adams genuinely has some deep insight into the nature of things – these people think Dilbert is more than just an collection of ironic bureaucratic disasters that ought be avoided, they think God’s Debris is more than just ham-handed mockery (not just of scientific thought, but also of most religious and philosophical thought). Demonstrating that it is misinformed demonstrates that Scott Adams’ fans are misinformed – which they are culturally pre-disposed to find offensive. I haven’t seen any cogent explanation of how a scientific thinker might overcome this difficulty. (I apologize for only addressing half of the issue (that is, what scientific bloggers might do about the conflict, as compared to what Scott Adams and/or his fans might do about the conflict).)

  70. #70 stogoe
    January 31, 2007

    jeffk is a concern troll. Note the classic “I read all the time but you guys are being so mean to so brup brup brup brup brup”.

  71. #71 Steve Watson
    January 31, 2007

    There was a discussion of Mensa membership on t.o a few years back, in connection with some pseudo-scientific kook who had written a book. Unsurprisingly, a few of the t.o people turned out to be Mensa members — they were just decent, intelligent, regular folks (OK, insofar as “regular folk” can be applied to t.o participants. But I digress.) The point was made that, anyone who makes a public point of their Mensa membership (like on book-jacket blurbs) is probably a fool and/or a jerk whose only talent is being good at logic puzzles.

  72. #72 Jameson
    January 31, 2007

    I think Adams is just trying to challenge people’s thinking about terms like “intelligent” and about why we get so excited about believing there is/isn’t an intelligent designer in the first place. I read his blog a lot and if he’s a creationist I certainly disagree strongly with him; but I think he’s just poking fun at the entrenched assumptions on either side, not really trying to further a pro-ID movement.

  73. #73 Will Von Wizzlepig
    January 31, 2007

    While I know Scott posts some silly stuff, I am quite sure he’s not a creationist, not a theist, and quite definitely not serious about most of what he posts.

    His latest post was pretty flimsy, and I think more than anything intended to get a rise out of his readership more than anything.

    I could be completely mis-reading his entire history of blog posts (I went back and read them all back when I started reading) and also his book “god’s debris”.

    Most of the time, I think he aims more to teach his readers a lesson than anything else- a lesson in how people can throw ideas at you, and if you can’t see through them, recognize a logical fallacy or intentional slight of word, you’re doomed.

    He’s trolling, for sure, with that intelligence post. He purposely writes from very techy-nerdy strict concept-focused perspective, taking him seriously is like trying to have a conversation with a slide rule. This time, though, he’s being lazy, too, and written a pretty sloppy post.

  74. #74 craig
    January 31, 2007

    “What exactly is a “concern troll” as opposed to a regular troll? Sorry, I’m behind on the lingo.”

    A concern troll usually goes something like this:
    “I’m a lifelong and loyal member of the Democrat party but lately they’ve gone too far in criticizing our Commander in Chief…” etc.

  75. #75 llewelly
    January 31, 2007

    … taking him seriously is like trying to have a conversation with a slide rule.

    Er, uh, did you intend to imply Scott Adams is a mindless tool?

    Got it!

  76. #76 jeffk
    January 31, 2007

    Wait, stogoe, are you actually trying to say that I’m a plant – a covert Scott Adams loyalist who is faking my anti-creationism? If you are, you’re in worse shape than I thought. If you don’t respond, I’ll assume you suffocated yourself trying to secure your tin-foil hat.

  77. #77 Great White Wonder
    January 31, 2007

    Shorter jeffk: “I’m lonely.”

  78. #78 jeffk
    January 31, 2007

    translated GWW: “I’m useless.”

  79. #79 Drew
    January 31, 2007

    It gives me great hope for the Human society that the ancient practice of feces-flinging is still practiced in full force.
    Wonderful thing, this “discussion”.

    I’ll go hide in my cave now.

    -Troglodyte

  80. #80 llewelly
    February 1, 2007

    If Scott Adams is joking, he’s doing an embarrassingly bad job of it.

    Humor requires a shared understanding of what the joke is about. The reviewer’s understanding is incompatible with Scott Adams’ (mis)understanding; the reviewer’s understanding will not allow him to accept Scott Adams’ .
    Scott Adams’ humor is ‘embarrassingly bad’ only to people who understand how mistaken his ideas are. (One reason why so many grow tired of Dilbert as they grow older, is the Dilbert view of work culture seems less and less convincing as one develops a more sophisticated understanding of work culture.)

  81. #81 Owen
    February 1, 2007

    I do not savage people for saying one stupid thing. Adams has a history, a long history, of saying stupid things, and then cowering behind that feeble “I’m just a cartoonist, I was joking” excuse.

    Wait a minute… when has he hidden behind the “I was joking” excuse? Seriously. Plenty of people have said things like “hey, he’s a cartoonist/satirist/whatever, don’t take him seriously” — but has he?

    I don’t believe so. This latest post about intelligence is a follow up to his long-stated position on determinism and free will (or the lack of) and its implications. He’s doing it in a roundabout way, and I’d argue he’s been too roundabout, but it’s still what he really thinks and he wouldn’t deny that.

    And about his “history of saying stupid things”: you gave him his first savaging before there was a history, while there was still a chance for reasonable discourse. I repeat: he was wrong about evolution/ID, but could (IMHO) probably have been talked around.

    But we’ll never know now, because no-one really tried.

  82. #82 Owen
    February 1, 2007

    A concern troll usually goes something like this:
    “I’m a lifelong and loyal member of the Democrat party but lately they’ve gone too far in criticizing our Commander in Chief…” etc.

    A serious question here. How much am I allowed to disagree with PZ before I’m labelled a concern troll? Or is it a particular type of disagreement, rather than the absolute amount?

    For the record, my only problem with PZ is a general one. Ridicule and savagings can be very entertaining, and when done by PZ are often informative. He certainly knows his stuff, and how to write well. And, this being his blog, he’s certainly allowed to take whatever tone he likes. But at the same time, there are people who would benefit from education, not just ridicule. Perhaps not Adams, but there’ll be plenty of lurkers coming here because of the link to him, and they could benefit. These people are likely to be put off by the savaging and not listen to the information that’s also included.

    So an opportunity to inform is lost, and opinions are further polarised.

    Let’s put it another way. What is gained by all this negativity? Sure, we who are already convinced of the vacuity of ID are entertained. But isn’t one of our aims to persuade more people to see things our way? Okay, the Wells’ and the Dembski’s will never be persuaded, but Adams isn’t one of them: at worst he’s a misguided commentator. At least try to show him where he’s wrong before writing him off as beyond help.

  83. #83 Random guy
    February 1, 2007

    I have nothing to say about this. But what is “pharyngula”?

  84. #84 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 1, 2007

    So when this “debate” appears in “Dilbert” — do we each get a cut of the royalties?

    There is a mechanism by which he takes submissions. I’m friends with the guy at JPL who, some years ago, initiated the “dead wood” elimination thread of Dilbert.

  85. #85 Bob Johnson
    February 1, 2007

    Jeez, what a bunch self centered, arrogant snobs you University types are. Get over yourselves, ideas and dialogue make you think, to come up with answers that are yours, they don’t tell you how to think and you shouldn’t tell others how to either.

  86. #86 Pari
    February 1, 2007

    Are you really a professor? I wonder how you have the time. I am a graduate studen, and I see how hard my advisor works…there is no way he has the time to start a public feud with a cartoonist (besides, he is much smarter than that…not much to be gained out of it). perhaps you’re tenured and bored of research, and therefore have nothing better to do …

  87. #87 MJ Memphis
    February 1, 2007

    “And have you considered that perhaps people just don’t care about the fine details of science?”

    Yeah, until their power goes out, or they get rushed to the ER, or they need a round of antibiotics. Then they should be really glad that some people (hint: not French majors) bothered to learn the fine details.

  88. #88 Dilbonian
    February 1, 2007

    SHAAH

  89. #89 Neil
    February 1, 2007

    Hello PZ,

    So when are you going to graduate high school? I’m not going to defend Scott Adams, I’m going to defend all the other boobs on the internet, including myself. I enjoy reading Adams’ blog not because his wild theories are scientifically correct, not because his views are profound, but because he thinks about things in a different way than most people. Ask ten people what they think Adams’ post is about and they will mostly give you very different answers. My point is that an immature attack on a writer is no way to advance your own ideas. Beliefs are hard to change, but definitions are easy.

    I use my blog as an outlet for creativity. It’s definitely unscientific and I rarely bother to discover all if any of the facts before I write. Does that make me a bad person too?

    Feel free to malign me for no good reason as well.

  90. #90 Steve LaBonne
    February 1, 2007

    Golly, what do you know, Adams attracts hordes of dittoheads who are as stupid and ignorant as he is. What a surprise.

    Here’s a free clue to some of you- it might even help you get out of your mothers’ basements some day. “Arguing both sides” as between sense and nonsense constitutes abject cluelessness. When you figure that out, you might begin maturing beyond a mental age of 11.

  91. #91 Drew
    February 1, 2007

    Wow talk about atheistic arrogance here? Last I check, evolution was and is still a theory so what makes your “theory” any superior to another man’s? Life is continuous and random, so any given day, another species will make an evolution to come out of the water to live on land, new species joining man as upper intelligent species…yet, for over 3,000 years of recorded history, still no sightings.

    Prove me this Mr.Scientist. Since creationist theory doesn’t float with you, create the spark of life just by mixing raw materials just as you evolutionist theory dictates. A single cell living entity would be suffice. Oh wait, SCIENCE LAWS states that inorganic material can’t be converted into organic material. What a shame hypocrite.

  92. #92 bubba
    February 1, 2007

    If he’s so obviously wrong, why do you need to call him names?

  93. #93 Jonathan
    February 1, 2007

    Spoken like a true secular-progressive leftist.

    You can’t simply disagree with his view. You have to go after Adams on a personal level, using vitriolic slurs and attacks.

    And you call yourself intelligent. It’s people like you who scare me, not Adams.

  94. #94 Glen Davidson
    February 1, 2007

    Perhaps you are missing the point? The Dilbert Blog entry seemed to be about the difficulty of designing an adequate intelligence test. The Big Bang example demonstrated how tricky it is to choose conditions and parameters that actually define what you want.

    No, it only shows that Adams is a man of (apparently) very little brain who commits the genetic fallacy and obscures the meaning of useful, if not perfectly defined, words.

    Anyone who has had a class in philosophy, or even a higher level English class, knows the problem of defining words. Indeed, words appear to be as useful as they are because “common words” don’t have immutable and set definitions. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have “meanings”, while the ignorant claphead Adams keeps on showing his stupidity in demanding “definitions” (when closely considered, “definition” and “meaning” are not the same thing, although they can sometimes properly be used synonymously).

    There is, in fact, nothing wrong in the broad sense with calling the Big Bang and subsequent events “calculation” or a type of “computer”. It does much that the more narrowly defined “computer” does in its manipulation of information. But then, so does the brain. That’s the real connection, for intelligence is part of the vast compuation of information in the universe, it is a “special version” of the computation in the cosmos, while the cosmos is not “intelligent” in almost all senses of “intelligence”.

    Adams can’t even think that “intelligence” has meaning (and not a comprehensive “definition”–he’s an intellectually dishonest fool to use that “standard”) in the human which, so to speak, is the result of complex computations of the universe, without believing that the one must reduce to the other. He’s the ultimate reductionist, a naive and uneducated person who turns his inability to recognize differences into the bleat that there are no differences.

    To be fair, I think PZ would have done better to ignore this clown and his clowns in training, but that’s his call. What matters now is that the fool Adams should shut up before he demonstrates to all those above moron level that he writes about things that he has no ability to discuss.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  95. #95 Numad
    February 1, 2007

    SCIENCE LAWS is nearly as funny as that PYGMIES expression.

    Look at the nice little mob that showed up.

  96. #96 Steve LaBonne
    February 1, 2007

    Spoken like a true secular-progressive leftist.

    Hilarious. I didn’t know Adams was popular with the black helicopter crowd. Another feather in his cap.

  97. #97 Dogbert
    February 1, 2007

    You think Scott Adams is a creationist? Wow! You really ARE going out of your way to criticize him!

    By the way, isn’t the description, “godless liberal” redundant, repetetive and redundant?

  98. #98 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    Neurofreak said,

    You all are such massive tool bags. Scott Adams in his recent argument about the universe being intelligent is simply arguing for the vagueness of the definition of “intelligence.” Calling him degrading names simply shows you inability to comprehend the bigger picture of what he is saying, and is a great display of your own personal ignorance.

    Pot. . . Kettle. . . .

    Besides which, we’ve already said how his method of reasoning is fundamentally flawed. Let me waste electrons and repeat.

    He also appears to believe, all satire aside, that the following argument has logical validity:

    1. We are intelligent.
    2. We were caused by the Big Bang.
    3. We must have inherited our characteristics from that which caused us.
    4. Therefore, the Big Bang was intelligent.

    But we’ve already seen that we can substitute anything for “intelligent”: ten-fingered, blue-eyed, blond-haired, Nazi. The conclusion is absurd, so the premise and/or the chain of reasoning must be flawed. (Hint: look at step 3.) Adams says that he’s trying to eliminate poor definitions of “intelligence” by this method, but he can’t do that if his chain of reasoning is fundamentally broken.

  99. #99 rem
    February 1, 2007

    I think that you are really upset that Scott Adams is something, whereas you are just a self-important arrogant asshole. Your whole text is filled with personal insults to Scott as if he really hit where it hurts. If all you can come up is insults, out of context misinterpretations, then its really pathetic.

    He is interesting/funny to read because he has a refreshing and humorous line of thought. It is beyond me that apparently an educated person could take his writings seriously enough to get a personal beef and/or consider them scientific.

  100. #100 daniel
    February 1, 2007

    this just looks like 2 guys who happen to be having a s#it-fight… and i don’t even think they’re on opposite teams…

    Adams takes the piss out of the religious and/or creationists all the time, PZ does too, Adams just does it to scientists as well…

    Both Adams and PZ have their own little flocks of sycophants… I’m amazed this is worth getting so worked up about…

    Go fly a kite, swim in a river, make love, drink wine…

  101. #101 Steve_C
    February 1, 2007

    I’ll admit to over reacting if they admit the post wasn’t funny.

  102. #102 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    I hope that someday I too can grow up to be like Scott Adams, with a legion of sycophants poised and ready to deliver insults so puerile they scarcely qualify as ad hominem attacks upon all who differ with me. What do I have to do to win that kind of fan support?

  103. #103 Steve_C
    February 1, 2007

    Are we at a fan site for the backstreet boys?

    The whiney little girls coming to complain that we don’t like their most favorite bad, so we must be an idiot or have no taste.

    We think Scott Adams says stupid shit. Get over it.

  104. #104 PZ Myers
    February 1, 2007

    People keep saying Adams’ post was funny or entertaining. I don’t see it. I’m afraid it was just stupid.

  105. #105 Steve
    February 1, 2007

    You know…change a few words in your post, and in the resulting comments and this could be mistaken for a right-wing, evangelical, pro-creationist blog filled with whack jobs.

    I am neither a pro-creationist, nor am I a pro-evolutionist. Why not? Cause I don’t give shit. I’m here…period. Arguing about the technical and biological reasoning seems pointless to the extreme. Especially when blood pressure gets raised and people come to blows.

    When some pro-evolutionist can explain the caterpillar to butterfly transition and how that came about through random evolution, without resorting to supposition that is merely faith-based postulation, then you might get me interested.

  106. #106 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    Kerry Neighbour:

    And you have to admit – he does pose some of the same old questions in entertaining ways.

    With all due respect, no, we don’t have to admit this. Entertainment value is of course a matter of taste, on which reasonable people can disagree, but PZ, I and plenty of others here have read what Scott Adams said and found it an uninspired re-hash of poor arguments we’ve all seen too many times before. People who haven’t been following the creationism brouhaha for as long might not be aware of the long, long back story, but rest assured, if somebody has come up with names for a kind of bad thinking (genetic fallacy, for example) that kind of bad thinking has been around for a while.

    Therefore, no, we don’t see much entertainment value in it. The spectacle of the comments now flooding our part of the Intertubes, composed as they are of insults, claims that “he’s just a satirist” and defenses of logically incoherent writing — tend to grate on our collective nerves.

  107. #107 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    You don’t realize that you talk down to people by ASSuming that they take his blog seriously. You honestly believe that people are sheep who can’t think for themselves?

    A good many people are decent folk who stand up and think for themselves at every opportunity. Some of them hang out here. I like ‘em.

    The problem is that we keep receiving empirical evidence that people take Scott Adams and everything he says all too seriously. Every insult directed at PZ in this thread confirms this. It’s not an assumption, but rather a fact we can verify.

    Adams has himself written — what is it now, three? — yes, I think three blog posts about this. Looks like he cares. Why shouldn’t we?

  108. #108 Jorrath Zek
    February 1, 2007

    Interesting point of view. I enjoyed reading your insightful opinion on “The Dilbert Guy”.

    It seems he thinks little of you, but was good enough to link to your BLOG from his.

    I must say the pair of your BLOG entries read as quite funny together. Keep the fued going. It’s kinda like watching Oprah, only reading…

  109. #109 Lance
    February 1, 2007

    Wow. I mean that about nearly everything here. Wow.

  110. #110 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    Quoting from somewhere up there. . . .

    I wish you luck with that although I’m guessing every time you mention his name he gets another 100 subscribers to his blog and 50 to Dilbert from your readers.

    Hey, PZ, if you’ve got so much power, can you help out Jin Wicked and link to Crap I Drew on My Lunch Break a few times? Unshelved is also good, as is (of course) Tatsuya Ishida’s Sinfest.

    Put your king-making power to good use!

  111. #111 b
    February 1, 2007

    “supercilious and inflated sense of intellectual self-worth, the same mocking tone, the same knee-jerk rejection of anyone else’s expertise, as if the fact that some people know much more in some discipline than he does is a personal insult.”

    Ha. Sounds like this blog.

  112. #112 Steve_C
    February 1, 2007

    Zees fans have grown tiresome. Now is zee time on Shprockets ven vee dance.

  113. #113 Marina
    February 1, 2007

    Ahh, how I love people taking themselves and their theories so seriously…
    Maybe if scientists (biologists in particular) could come up with something a little more interesting we wouldn’t find Scott Adams absurd ideas so brilliant (and hilarious). Excuse me if I find a cartoonist a lot more interesting than a measly Associate Professor. I have worked with academics since I was 18 and a large number of them make the average person on the street look like Einstein. And I am of the opinion that people in general are highly stupid. The only thing people should be admitting is that we in fact hardly know anything of our universe etc.
    Stop trying to sound so knowledgeable it’s ridiculous.

  114. #114 Jenni
    February 1, 2007

    Why are you so bitter? Don’t you have better things to rant about than one guy’s random, sometimes logic-less logic? Adams doesn’t take himself seriously on a consistent basis, and he never tells you when he’s serious or when he’s not. Why not pick on someone who actually takes themselves seriously all the time? It’d be a lot easier, and it would make more sense.

  115. #115 Steve_C
    February 1, 2007

    where are these bright lights of insight coming from?

    If being a cartoonist means whatever they say should be ignored… why are they here defending him?

  116. #116 crunchy frog
    February 1, 2007

    I read your blog because I clicked here from the Dilbert site. With all your ranting, you’re giving godless liberals a bad name. I truly thought you were a Rush Limbaugh wannabe based on the first paragraph. I enjoy Scott’s blog most of the time, even when I don’t agree with it. Your blog is mean-spirited and doesn’t contain much in the way of facts. I didn’t enjoy reading your post and won’t be back.

  117. #117 Steve_C
    February 1, 2007

    Crunchy the Concern Frog. Tastes good fried.

  118. #118 Nicholas
    February 1, 2007

    I doubt that PZ will get around to reading this, but just in case.

    I am not a “Diblonian,” nor a Scott Adams “fan.”
    However, after reading Adams’ initial post, the excerpt on OmniBrain, and your swift reply, I question whether or not you actually had the courtesy to read Adams’ original post before doing exactly what he predicted you would do and brutalize arguments that he did not make. I don’t mean to offend anybody, so here’s a politely innocuous example of something that you failed to notice, then you can kindly see the rest for yourself if you wish.

    In response to what you called Scott Adams’ “key argument for assigning intelligence to the universe” you responded with “It’s a wee bit circular, don’t you think?”
    What you’ve failed to notice is that Adams’ “argument” is actually taken slightly out of context and also that he very clearly states (in his post) that the argument is a circular one. I enjoy your writings PZ, but god damn. Read Adams’ original posts (and read them in their entirety) before barrelling off on these useless tirades. What do you have to prove?

  119. #119 Steve_C
    February 1, 2007

    “The most entertaining self-important, humorless, autofellating, ass hat (SHAAH for short) is a biologist named PZ Myers.”

    Yep. Only PZ is guilty of name calling.

    Listen Dibonians… they have a history going back a couple of years. PZ only calls him out when he says stupid shit about evolution or the big bang. It’s tripe whether he believes it or not. He still finds pleasure in defending it and he doesn’t seem to care one way or another. None of it matters to him, which is pretty obvious because he hasn’t thought through much of it. And when he does he’s quite happy that it goes nowhere.

    It’s like a C level philosphy student arguing with Stephen Hawking about what happens at the event horizon in a black hole. The student hasn’t really bothered to read up on the topic but finds pleasure from the electronic voice explaining it too him even though he still doesn’t get it.

  120. #120 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    Roger:

    You’re right Blake, I’m sorry. I’m also a godless liberal and I should have disclosed that in my statement.

    I guess you’ll have to share that room with PeeZee.

    You make it sound like a bad thing. Why? It’s not as if the response would be noticeably more favorable if P-Zed had pointed out the sheer illogic of Adams’s ramble while decorating his blog post with gumdrops and Oompa Loompas. Personally, I don’t like being unpleasant to people, though it happens enough anyway, no matter how I phrase what I say. Nevertheless, I can recognize intellectually that sometimes, forceful statements are required and nonsense deserves a strong rebuke.

    Hey, people remember Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks for a reason. Girls take off their clothes and decorate themselves like Spider Jerusalem for a reason.

  121. #121 Armando Esteban
    February 1, 2007

    I have read a lot here that they are not reading Adam again because they dislike what he thinks in ONE subject.

    AHAHAHAH that pretty mucho defines you

  122. #122 ks
    February 1, 2007

    “the same supercilious and inflated sense of intellectual self-worth, the same mocking tone…”

    TOUCHE PZ!!!

  123. #123 John Gehrken
    February 1, 2007

    I think any serious scientist who can get his feathers so badly ruffled by something a cartoonist says probably needs to get his head checked. I guess he really is an ass-hat.

  124. #124 Joe Tepis
    February 1, 2007

    Every now and then, do you stop and read what you’ve typed? Or do you just start typing and hope something comes out of a string of words? I didn’t think it was possible to hate anyone more than I hate Adams… I was wrong.

  125. #125 Steven Mclay
    February 1, 2007

    Scott Adams FTW! suckas!

  126. #126 Reinhardt
    February 1, 2007

    My dear man,

    I will not bore you with saying you don’t have a sense of humour as it is clear that you have already accepted that… It’s the first step.

    What I do want to ask is: Where are yor published books? Where is your money, and how many people have you made laugh? I personally think that any man that moves out of a day job in a cubicle, and becomes one of the world’s most successful comic writers, can not be called stupid. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

    I have to say though, critizing Scott is a smart (yet sad) way of generating hits to this site. Especially now he’s given you a helping hand…

    Oh and you could take an example from him. As much as you critizise him, I have only seen one side of the story. At least Scott almost always provides an alternative view, and clearly states that his views are exacly what they are… HIS views. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  127. #127 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    What I do want to ask is: Where are yor published books? Where is your money, and how many people have you made laugh? I personally think that any man that moves out of a day job in a cubicle, and becomes one of the world’s most successful comic writers, can not be called stupid. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

    …and with that same logic you should be asking Ann Coulter to run for the presidency, right?

    it doesn’t take intelligence to be successful; in fact, in this country, deliberate anti-intelligent rantings can gain one significant wealth and notariety. Is anti-intelligencia for fun and profit intelligent? Not from a sane perspective.

    hence the patron saint of stupidity, our own commander in chimpiness, who has been elected not once, but twice, should give you pause to reconsider your words.

  128. #128 Nathan
    February 1, 2007

    Myers, seriously, stop self-fellating for just one minute. Adams is clearly not a creationist, and clearly doesn’t claim to be an authority on any of these topics. He writes a blog full of personal musings, then people comment. Some people leave good comments, some dumb comments. Why do you feel so threatened by a cartoonist’s lay discussions of philosophy? I don’t agree with alot of what he says, but contrary to your accusations he’s perfectly willing to listen to all sides of an argument and enjoys a good debate with his ‘legions of fans’.

  129. #129 Regular
    February 1, 2007

    “We get it. Adams is a harmless cartoonist who doesn’t merit criticism. Then why bother defending him?”

    Because we like him and he’s being attacked.

  130. #130 MattM
    February 1, 2007

    Scott Adams would like you to know that you are a “self-important, humorless, autofellating, ass hat.” SHAAH for short. After reading this post, I’m inclined to agree.

  131. #131 Numad
    February 1, 2007

    Scott Adams, MattM: “self-fellating”

    Nathan: “autofellating”

    Purely coincidental, I’m sure!

  132. #132 Caledonian
    February 1, 2007

    Because we like him and he’s being attacked.

    That’s not a valid justification.

  133. #133 Rosemary
    February 1, 2007

    One question: what makes your opinion more valuable than his?

  134. #134 Foob
    February 1, 2007

    Aw, don’t fight Scott & PZ! I love you both.

  135. #135 Blake Stacey
    February 1, 2007

    When I read the first paragraph I see indignation and anger and I don’t see anything else. In my opinion the Dilbertblog isn’t a platform for serious discussion on any topic and I’m starting to think the same way about Pharyngula.
    Einstein isn’t remembered for saying that Newton was a tool.

    Indeed, Einstein is remembered for showing that (under certain circumstances) Newton’s ideas are wrong.

    PZ and a few of us Pharynguloid sycophants have shown, in what I think is a fairly lucid way, that Adams was wrong. Isn’t that the point? Isn’t the fact that in 286 comments, nobody has defended Adams with a rigorous argument more significant than PZ’s curt manner?

    Nobody here is obligated to argue in an asinine way. If any one of us agrees with PZ’s content but dislikes his tone, we can say so, and our comments stand in the record (forever, for all practical Internet purposes). I’ve probably done so myself, in the several months I’ve hung out here, although I doubt I’ve done it often, since the inimitable Myers harshness doesn’t really get under my skin. During these recent months, I’ve also had some fruitful and interesting intellectual exchanges with other visitors to Pharyngula territory. Many of the regulars here are well-read, articulate folks, and the cumulative store of knowledge is quite impressive.

    Having had a moment to reflect, I find it pleasing that PZ was at least candid about his flamewar history. His tone is at least no worse than Adams’s declaration,

    The most entertaining self-important, humorless, autofellating, ass hat (SHAAH for short) is a biologist named PZ Myers.

    This is not, in my judgment, a very inspiring acronym. If I had to choose, I’d go for David Brin’s coinage, CITOKATE — Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error.

  136. #136 DS
    February 1, 2007

    Scott Adams’ so-called philosophy book was not his view on the world or its creation. It was a thought experiment, as it clearly stated in the introduction. The point of the book was to figure out the one fatal flaw in the theory, which I doubt any of you were smart enough to do. Part of the time, Scott Adams is just pulling everyone’s chain, but if you haven’t figured it out by now, Scott Adams is an atheist with a sensible mind, just like any intelligent person in this world. “Atheist” normally implies that said person does not believe in creationism. So logically, he does not endorse creationism in any way, like the idiot who wrote this blog suggests. He just enjoys messing with your mind. And if I may say so, he’s doing a very good job.

  137. #137 Nick
    February 1, 2007

    Scott Adams is a douchebag, but a douchebag that draws a funny comic.

    PZ appears to be a douchebag, but one that does not do funny anything.

    Therefore, Adams > PZ.

  138. #138 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    yes, we also notice in scott’s response, that he nowhere actually tries to defend his ridiculous premise of human intelligence must equal big-band intelligence.

    indeed, speaking of ad-hominem, absolutely nothing was actually answered in his entire post. instead, he chose to use it to spawn his self-flagellating little acronym.

    deliberately, most likely.

    PZ rightly recognizes the responsibility of any public figure: when you say shit, people listen. just like any other public figure, Adams must at some level realize this himself, so PZ (and anyone with half a brain) has every right to call him on such idiotic BS.

    personally, I would have just gone to his blog and done it there, rather than start a thread about it here, but that’s me.

    any chance this idiocy can be put to bed now?

  139. #139 Rey Fox
    February 1, 2007

    Well, I’d hate to come down partially on the side of some of the newcomers here, but having read Adams’ latest post, I can see that he’s a smug sophist (“Many people think I said This or That. But what did I really say? I’m not tellinnnng! (except to say that if you disagree with me, then you must be this colorful acronym I made up and my readers are all too happy to spread around as if it were clever)”, and the less time spent on refuting his points, or paying attention to anything he has to say on anything outside the cubicle, the better.

  140. #140 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    Scott Adams is a douchebag, but a douchebag that draws a funny comic.

    PZ appears to be a douchebag, but one that does not do funny anything.

    Therefore, Adams > PZ

    right… if you think that the whole world revolves around levels of humor only.

    let’s see adams teach a decent class in dev bio at the college level, or analyze a recent evo paper online.

    of course, being a scientist, I’m far more biased towards science > humor

  141. #141 anon
    February 1, 2007

    PZ:

    Listen, Dilbonians: you can stop telling me I have no sense of humor. I know it already. I also know that Scott Adams has a piss-poor sense of humor, too.

    Wombat:

    Sure I can’t actually dance en pointe myself but believe me – neither can that Nureyev dude!

    George Bush Junior:

    I am the Commander in Chief in a time of war, I tell you!

    Religious fundamentalist:

    Well maybe I know nothing about science, but that PZ Myers guy is way overrated himself! And he has no sense of humor whatsoever!

    Me: nobody’s impressed by people blathering on in all seriousness, and high dudgeon, about subjects they know nothing about. Well, nobody who knows.

  142. #142 Roger
    February 1, 2007

    “Isn’t that the point? Isn’t the fact that in 286 comments, nobody has defended Adams with a rigorous argument more significant than PZ’s curt manner?”

    Sure, or it could be that the Adams defenders aren’t as articulate, educated or well informed as yourself. Or it could be that PeeZee’s argument is neither rigorous nor significant making it difficult to respond in kind.

    I don’t think I’m smart enough to tell the difference.

  143. #143 Tristan
    February 1, 2007

    yes, we also notice in scott’s response, that he nowhere actually tries to defend his ridiculous premise of human intelligence must equal big-band intelligence.

    Perhaps because that premise was taken completely out of context where it was being used as an example of a bad definition?

    —-

    I also like this part of PZ’s post.

    Adams took a stab at at the subject again, proposing that at least we ought to teach it as an alternative to evolution, an old and tiresome argument that I thoroughly despise.

    Wherein the provided link we find…

    He suggests that we use Intelligent Design as a bad example–that we should “welcome such a clear model of something that is NOT science”. That’s fine; we do this all the time, and I have used creationism as an example of how not to do science. It’s missing the argument, though. There has never been any restriction on using counterexamples, and no one objects. The issue, though, is that the creationists want to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design as a legitimate alternative to evolution. This is unjustified, and his suggestion does not address the actual issue.

    …that Scott didn’t do anything of the sort, and it is unrelated third parties that are actually responsible. Hm.

    In any case.

    PZ and his cadre not finding Scott funny: Fine. Tastes in humour vary massively. Somewhat disappointing that they have a tendency to try to apply their definition of humour to everyone, but that is ultimately irrelevant.

    PZ and his cadre enjoying taking Scott’s comments out of context: Fine. It’s a free-ish internet.

    PZ and his cadre enjoying insulting Scott: Also fine.

    PZ’s cadre complaining about being insulted, especially with low-quality insults: Continuing to be fine…

    PZ’s cadre not liking people complaining about their insults: Damned hilarious. ‘You’re just making ad hominem attacks against us! Ignore that that’s what we were doing to Scott originally!’

  144. #144 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    ‘You’re just making ad hominem attacks against us! Ignore that that’s what we were doing to Scott originally!’

    both a strawman and wrong.

    PZ addressed scott’s argument directly. that is NOT an ad hominem.

    Adams rebuttal did NOT address the criticisms of his argument, but instead created a ‘funny’ acronym to throw out.

    that’s ad hominem.

  145. #145 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    Perhaps because that premise was taken completely out of context where it was being used as an example of a bad definition?

    oh? where? I read both the original post, the comments, and the rebuttal to PZ. nowhere did I see Scott claiming such for his posting.

    in fact, he rather states it was merely ‘intellectual’ musings on his part.

    I think you are making things up.

  146. #146 Tristan
    February 1, 2007

    PZ addressed scott’s argument directly. that is NOT an ad hominem.

    I propose to the otherwise:

    Adams just outed himself as a feeble hack
    Scott Adams has become even more stupid in the intervening months
    Scott Adams is still a babbling idiot.
    I also know that Scott Adams has a piss-poor sense of humor

    And as far as
    both a strawman and wrong.
    is concerned, for it to be a strawman implies that it is some sort of argument to begin with. The latter part of my comment was observation, nothing more, and highly unrelated to any way of continuing the discussion so I’m not sure how you could interpret it at such.

    And as for this:
    Adams rebuttal did NOT address the criticisms of his argument, but instead created a ‘funny’ acronym to throw out.

    I have yet to see a rebuttal from Scott. The only post he’s created any stupid acronyms recently is the one where was discussing his motives in writing his blog, and mentioned PZ in the opening to it. He also called PZ
    highly entertaining, in an entirely accidental way
    which is far more credit than PZ has ever given him.

    that’s ad hominem.
    No-one denied that~

  147. #147 Tristan
    February 1, 2007

    Perhaps because that premise was taken completely out of context where it was being used as an example of a bad definition?

    oh? where? I read both the original post, the comments, and the rebuttal to PZ. nowhere did I see Scott claiming such for his posting.

    http://scienceblogs.com/omnibrain/2007/01/the_dilbert_blog_weighs_in_on.php

    Yes, my definition of intelligence is circular nonsense. That’s the point. Any definition of intelligence is nonsense.

  148. #148 Simon
    February 1, 2007

    Why does everybody interfere with this name calling contest by talking about ID?

  149. #149 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    so you found that in a totally unrelated blog?

    why, that’s just so totally useful.

    *snark*

    one does indeed wonder why he didn’t start off his post by signifying such to begin with then?

    nor even chose to clarify in any of the comment sections on his own site, or in the response to PZ.

    of what value is it to find his concession in the comments section of an unrelated blog?

    at least you proved you weren’t making this up.

    …but it still leaves totally unadressed the function of his initial post, given that he gave it no such context there or in rebuttal.

    i could just as easily make the argument that the response you post is mere backpeddaling, once he realized that his initial post was doggerel.

    which of course would support the pattern PZ notes in his post.

    where can you gather evidence to make a reasonable assumption otherwise, based on his initial post?

  150. #151 Tristan
    February 1, 2007

    Totally unrelated blog? But PZ linked to it in his third paragraph.

    I’ll try to go through what you’ve said, but you spoke somewhat disjointedly in that comment and it’s a tad hard for me to follow.

    one does indeed wonder why he didn’t start off his post by signifying such to begin with then?

    Mainly because, as far as I would know
    A) it’s obvious
    B) that would defeat the purpose of attracting the thoughts of people who somehow miss the obviousness. As he said recently, he finds the different ways that different people think about what he’s said to be interesting.

    The only way I can think of, that someone would think that line of reasoning being obviously faulty because the writer was faulty as opposed to being on purpose, is if they have been exposed to a great deal of people who have highly faulty reasoning.

    where can you gather evidence to make a reasonable assumption otherwise, based on his initial post?

    Gather evidence to prove that he’s not retconning the thoughts behind the post with that comment? Personally I would find that somewhat difficult. However, I don’t see gathering evidence that he WAS to be any less so… and I don’t recall anyone here having gathered any, just theorised.

  151. #152 laughingAtYouNotWithYou
    February 1, 2007

    Dude. You’re serial. You’re super serial. I am going to save humanity from man-bear-pig^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^ Scott Adams.

    He’s really dangerous. He cracks jokes. He muses about things he doesn’t understand in order to get a better grip on them. What a bastard!

    You are so right! No more reading his comics either, because obviously if he holds views different from mine, that condemns everything he does. I call it the part-whole justification. I am glad you have taken this issue so serially.

    Thank you Mr. Whoever you are.

  152. #153 Anon
    February 1, 2007

    You know, I don’t really think his arguments merit much worth on their own… I read his blog as more of a mental bubble gum for the day– just something to think about for a while, maybe the implications or support for the idea. You on the other hand, well, I’ve only bothered to read this one post. I would however pay money to see a dialogue between you and Adams.

  153. #154 ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    Gather evidence to prove that he’s not retconning the thoughts behind the post with that comment? Personally I would find that somewhat difficult. However, I don’t see gathering evidence that he WAS to be any less so… and I don’t recall anyone here having gathered any, just theorised.

    and yet that’s exactly what PZ did; historical evidence of scott’s post content supports exactly his contention, not yours.

    so is it really that obvious?

    I think not.

    perhaps you are projecting?

  154. #155 Joe
    February 1, 2007

    I’m sorry, but this post is simply much more boring than Scott’s. I’ll go back to his now and leave you alone.

  155. #156 hey
    February 1, 2007

    Do you realise that Scott Adams is a secular humanism manifesto bumping atheist?

  156. #157 dilbert reader
    February 1, 2007

    so. if dilbert readers attack that’s wrong.. But you can sit here and talk about how dumb he is. That’s a tad hypocritical isn’t it?

  157. #158 Steviepinhead
    February 1, 2007

    So, if I’m tracking what Adams and the Adaminions are saying, the guy deserves a little slack ’cause all he’s doing most of the time is throwing crap up on the wall to see if it sticks.

    Fair enough. But shouldn’t such a one–and all his wittle ones–be just a tad more inured now when some of the crap turns out not to stick?

    This one didn’t. No biggie, admit it and move on. Isn’t that supposed to be the whole “point”?

    Y’all seem to be trying to have it both ways–he’s entitled to the leeway to be wrong, but nobody can tell him when he is?

    What’s up with that?

  158. #159 Brian
    February 1, 2007

    If Dilbert readers want people to stop making fun of Scott Adams for the stupid things he says, then Dilbert readers should ask Scott Adams to stop saying stupid things.

  159. #160 Jerman
    February 1, 2007

    First, PZ you are funny! I read your criticism of Scott’s treatise, and your sarcasm at us Dilbertians who can’t figure out how to post. Honestly, I laughed at loud at our stupidity.

    My retort got to long, so I am starting a thread on my limited knowledge and search for the divine at:
    http://steakandwine.blogspot.com/

    First, there is life outside the walls of academia. At one time, leading intellectuals taught about the flat earth and the medicinal power of leaches (though in fairness, leaches are still used with considerable success for their blood-thinning properties. But not so good at curing the “vapors”) So what? It all is just theory, some better that will stand up to criticism, and other like the flat earthers who will continue to ignore fact.
    Some of us “religious suckers” of all stripes wonder if God is a loving/vengeful Being poking His nose into every nook of our human existence, a crapshooter who created this universe-wide game and is sitting bemused watching us idiots trying to assign blame/credit to Him for every nuance of our existence, or merely a disembodied and unintelligent force setting other forces into action. We don’t know any of it with absolute certainty. I observe “Life” spreading to places like volcanic ocean vents where a few decades ago, we all “knew” no life could exist. I watch the Mars & Europa probes and Hope for signs of life outside of Earth. But its all “hope” and “belief” and taking the facts that fit, and ignoring those that don’t. Everyone does it, from you learne’d professors, sitting in self-affirming serious self-adulation of your superiority, and us, less edu-ma-cated folks wallowing in our own ignorance and stupidity. And the third group, saying all theories have equal merit, and in an infinite universe, everything is possible, unlimited realities, and can’t we just get along in love and peace? Since no one stands a chance of convincing each other, please, keep the studious logical search for truth, let those of us keep the search for humor in our truth. Maybe you can teach us some of those annoying facts, and we can make you laugh.

  160. #161 Ichthyic
    February 1, 2007

    If Dilbert readers want people to stop making fun of Scott Adams for the stupid things he says, then Dilbert readers should ask Scott Adams to stop saying stupid things.

    bingo.

  161. #162 Dilbert
    February 1, 2007

    Trying to think of a way to explain to all you right brain addicts with your big words and latin what this is all about, but I think G did it best:

    knobs, knobs, knobs, knobs. so far up your own asses you think the sky is brown.

    If you don’t get it then that says everything. You can’t right brain allocate and define funny, it just happens and then improves with practise. I’ll bet many of you run around with camera’s trying to learn all the functions thinking it will help you take a better photo. I’m going to call what these posts against Scott are missing “organiscism” just to annoy people by making up a word that doesn’t mean anything.

    BTW – at the scale of the size of the universe there is no discernable difference between the size of a pea and the size of a human brain. Does this mean anything? I dunno and neither my friends do you.

  162. #163 Newton
    February 1, 2007

    By the way people, New Age with capitols refers to a reasonably well defined set of beliefs, not just to anything at all that wasn’t talked about ten years ago. Scott Adams does not in any way espouse those beliefs, or even mention them. Perhaps you too should check your facts??

  163. #164 anon
    February 2, 2007

    Because either no Pharyngies liked it or none of them got it the first time, I’m going to rudely repeat myself.

    PZ says Adams’ argument is circular and silly, and he may or may not have noticed that Adams says the same of it. Now, despite knowing that Adams makes his living as a humorist PZ believes he can get away with 1) claiming to have no sense of humor himself and then 2) telling us that Adams has none. Doodz this kind of argument fails I’m sorry – if you’ve no sense of humor yourself then your opinions of someone else’s are not germane. Just like if an antiscientific creationist were to say something like “Sure I don’t git this science stuff myself – but neither does that PZ fellow!” Do we care what the creationist opinion is of PZ’s science?

    Do we care what PZ’s opinion of someone else’s humor is if firstly he doesn’t get that it is indeed humorous, and then generously admits that that would be because he is humor challenged himself?

    It’s a personal spat folks – there’s no logic or sensible point being made here by PZ I’m sorry!

    And if I have to explain this a third time to you knuckleheads … it will have lost its funniness by then.

  164. #165 Tristan
    February 2, 2007

    I have better things to do with my time than participate in Futile Internet Debate #4059010, you know? Especially since we’re all well aware that no-one’s opinions are going to be changed. Except for the people who take PZ’s analysis of out-of-context text far too to heart a la

    I’ve been enjoying the Dilbert cartoons for many years. I did not realize their creator was a nutcase. After checking all the links, I’ll be taking him off my “daily reading” list.

    from far, far earlier.

    Blake. With regards to your text quoted from PZ’s post.

    PZ – He’s defining intelligence by assuming that the only process that can create intelligence is driven by intelligence

    No, he’s defining intelligence so that the only thing that can create anything is driven by intelligence.

    PZ – I’d simply rebut him by challenging his assumption, and say that the process that created the being who wrote Moby Dick did not require intelligent guidance (as we already know–the processes that drive evolution do not require active intervention by any intelligent agent)

    Not intelligence in the sense he isn’t using, sure. However, the intelligent ancestors of Melville or whoever it was that wrote Moby Dick did create intelligent Melville. And so forth back the line.

    PZ – therefore there is no reason to call a prior process like the Big Bang “intelligent”.

    Ah, if only he HAD called a process like the Big Bang intelligent. RE: Things have intelligence, not processes/events… and

    SAdams – Objection 1: The Big Bang is an event, not a thing.

    I think most people realized I was referring to both the universe and what it did. People are the sum of their matter plus their actions. The universe is a sum of its matter plus its actions. To keep things simple and colorful, I’m going to call the universe and everything it does the Big Bang.

    He does, however, refer to the big bang the process early in the post, but this is not the part of the post that people are complaining about.

    PZ – He’s also managed to put together an argument for an intelligent designer that requires us to conclude that everything in the universe is intelligent: phosphorylation [...] is intelligent.

    The term ‘intelligent designer’ he’s trying to sway people into thinking Scott is an ID fan with here is completely incorrect because the word intelligence isn’t being used as it would normally be in ‘intelligent designer’. This is propaganda, and nothing else.

    Now to Ichtyosaur.

    and yet that’s exactly what PZ did; historical evidence of scott’s post content supports exactly his contention, not yours.

    So as far as I understand it, your claim is Scott’s three linked posts from PZ’s posts are all backpedalling from the former.

    Please to be remembering that all we are doing here is looking at whether the posts are backpedalling or not, and not how true or not you believe the posts to be.

    Post the first is summarised as follows:
    Darwinists and Intelligent Designerers have a tendency to attack parts of the others’ argument that are obviously wrong and say that invalidates the entire thing.

    Post the second is in two parts. The first consists of:
    Intelligent Design should be taught in schools as something that’s not a good example of science, and I’m not sure why scientists are so intolerant to this idea.

    Followed by a thought experiment wherein if a supreme being of some kind DID exist and started defacing various monuments, and science couldn’t be used to discover how they occurred, should the messages be allowed to be brought up in schools since science can’t prove how they came to happen.

    And the third post which we should all know, summarises to:
    If I define intelligence in a manner of my choosing, I can say that the entire universe is intelligent.

    Forgive me if I don’t see how these posts are stepping back from each other.

    Since you haven’t provided a connection and neither has PZ that I can see, we’ll go with Anton from earlier who described how they were related. I am assuming that his thoughts match your own.

    Anton – Adams started by arguing that ID and evolution were equally iffy, and he got ripped a new one. Then he backed off and said, well, sure, ID and creationism are unscientific, and that’s exactly why we should teach them! For comparison! And he got ripped a new one, again.

    How some people get that impression from Scott’s first post is far and away beyond me. He’s discussing how people from both sides tend to only attack the things which are easy to disprove. He’s not discussing the sides themselves at all.

    Then he backed off and said we should teach ID because it’s unscientific? He until then hadn’t said anything about teaching ID at all. You can’t back off from a place you never were.
    Furthermore he was proposing that ID be taught as an example of things which are unscientific, not as a comparison to evolution.

    Furtherfurthermore, teaching ID in schools as an example of unscience is nothing at all to do with how people on both sides of the fence act, let alone a step back.

    And then we come to the latest one.

    Anton – Now he’s taken another step back–”Well, when I talk about intelligent design, I really mean this idiosyncratic definition of “intelligence” which doesn’t have anything to do with creationism or ID, so you can’t complain about that, can you?”

    How interesting that you equate a post about the definition of intelligence as somehow connected to the quite earlier posts on intelligent design. It’s only connected at all because with the bizarre definition used in the end the Universe itself IS treated as an intelligent creator, and as I said earlier because the definition of intelligence being used is different this is a connection in words used only and not in meaning.

    Furthermore he did not say anything about retconning this definition of intelligence back to his earlier posts, and furthermore if it WAS retconned back there it would break most of them.

    Example:
    SAdams – Intelligent Design accepts an old earth and even accepts the fact that species probably evolved. They only question the “how.”

    The definition of intelligence in the latest post, however, has nothing to do with the how.

    The posts aren’t connected, except for the first two using the same topic of Intelligent Design. And all of them have the word intelligence involved, even if it’s under a different meaning in the last one. The content of each post is nowhere near stepping back from the previous ones.

    So no. Historical evidence of Scott’s posts exactly DON’T support PZ’s contention.

  165. #166 Torbj÷rn Larsson
    February 2, 2007

    keep the studious logical search for truth, let those of us keep the search for humor in our truth

    Thinking that creative thinking and appreciation for beauty isn’t major mechanisms behind scientific thought is as clueless as Adams is, or pretends to be, of science and political pseudoscience.

    And that is why it isn’t funny.

    Adams was funny when he still was creative, within his area of expertise. (Cubicles.) Now, not so much. (This isn’t relevant here, but finishing of the started critique; his style is old anyway, shows like “The Office” has surpassed him long since.)

    That a humorist’s admirers becomes agitated by critique – now, that is hilarious. :-)

  166. #167 Al the Clone
    February 2, 2007

    PZ,
    Do you play poker? I have to believe that if I had $100 and you had the rest of the money in the world, I could clean you out in 4 or 5 hours. You’d better sit down for this–but you see, some people in the world say and do things to cause other people to react in the way they want you to. You may very well be 100 times smarter than Scott, but he owns you like you were Pavlov’s dog.
    Sincerely,
    Al the Clone

  167. #168 Charles
    February 2, 2007

    Oh my, you are just so full of yourself.

  168. #169 Danial
    February 2, 2007

    Everyone one of you, from the PZ-nauts to the Dilbonians are a bunch of frickin’ coneheads.

    And aside from that insult, I leave you with this bit of advice:

    Never cough into a full ashtray.

  169. #170 Jay
    February 2, 2007

    Your retoric is very good and I find your text composition quite interestingly written, but I don’t really find the content very persuasive.
    Not that you need to go into long explainations of the science you are writting about, but putting a little more effort into the logic of your arguments would make your comment seem more like a valid argument than a personal vendetta against someone.

    J

  170. #171 Torbj÷rn Larsson
    February 2, 2007

    Everyone one of you, from the PZ-nauts to the Dilbonians

    Nope, no dogma necessary. For example, I’m just an adilbonian.

  171. #172 Torbj÷rn Larsson
    February 2, 2007

    Everyone one of you, from the PZ-nauts to the Dilbonians

    Nope, no dogma necessary. For example, I’m just an adilbonian.

  172. #173 H
    February 2, 2007

    Do you really think he’s a creationist or are you just joking to get a rise out of people?

  173. #174 nw
    February 2, 2007

    You seem to be totally blinded by your hate twards ‘inteligent design’ bashing someone when he shows the slightest sign of consideration for it.
    Personally I never considered it as a possibility and also think its bullcrap to allow it in the schools (FYI as a dilbertblog reader I can asure you he never in it nor in his book proposed having it in schools).

    Neither do I think Scott Adams believes in the popular definition of Inteligent Design instead creating his own phylosophical definition for it – might be a sign of his superiority complex but given his position can he not feel ‘special’ like every person including you wants to feel.

    Even if I was proven that he indeed is serious about the ID I still wouldnt discredit the rest of his writing which by the very least is good.

    You show weakness by your angry approach at the subject. Presents your lack of experience in debating and as mentioned before shows you are blinded by one specific topic that clearly bothers you and makes it hard to sleep at night. I think an entry with less name calling and a more calm approach would get you taken more seriously – then again this is what got you mentioned in the blog, which got you 10 times as much traffic as you normally do, and got you feeling more special then you normally do
    so enjoy it

  174. #175 Peter Vonheffen
    February 2, 2007

    There are two sides to a story, and even if he is a idiot as you claim, you show yourself to be just as much an idiot in that you claim to know so much about Scott Adams and then in the next sentence say you have never read his blog in years…

  175. #176 may
    February 2, 2007

    Why should one take Adams so seriously? I like reading his blog, not that I am a “fan” I could never reach such levels of passion for anyone, however even if you are not gifted with sense of humour, you must be gifted with some intelligence since you are a scientist, and therefore you can distinguish between being didactic and being entertaining. If I want to investigate about science I will go to the library and find a good book. If I feel like reading some amusing stuff that helps me kill some time at the office I read Adams’ blog. That’s all. Let’s not make such a big deal of it.

  176. #177 Harry
    February 2, 2007

    “There is a lot in common there: the same supercilious and inflated sense of intellectual self-worth, the same mocking tone, the same knee-jerk rejection of anyone else’s expertise, as if the fact that some people know much more in some discipline than he does is a personal insult.”

    Hmm. Pot. Kettle. Black?

  177. #178 Gavin
    February 2, 2007

    PZ, being as you’re a scientist, how about sticking to the facts here and being a bit less angry? If you have a problem with Adams’ ideas, whether you have missed the point or not, you have to accept:
    - He is funny. His Dilbert cartoons are pasted on walls around the world because people laugh at them.
    - He is intelligent. Being a member of Mensa may not require anything other than IQ, but the IQ has to be there. I don’t think you could reasonably claim that he is stupid.

    As for the post “agreeing” with what Adams has said, take a look at http://www.venganza.org/ and check out the postings. I really don’t think anyone believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and yet, from the posts, you’d think there were thousands of devout followers. This is another example of a big, shared joke.

    Have you never had a random but intelligent conversation? Have you never thrown ideas in the air – however daft – and seen what comes together? Some truly great ideas have arisen through this kind of discourse and other, more widely held existing ideas and theories have been better understood and reinforced. This isn’t anti-science, as you seem to think it is, it’s just ideas. It’s not being presented as fact, it’s not being preached, it’s not being used to promote some political end, it’s just ideas. A scientist should not be afraid of ideas. This is bar-room chat, idle conversation.

    I think you may have mistaken Adams for a rogue scientist. He is not and he does not claim to be. You are making yourself look ridiculous and, in some small way, making science look ridiculous, too. He is a well-known humourist and you are a little-known scientist: if you both talk crap, he wins.

  178. #179 Al
    February 2, 2007

    Please calm down. Whatever happened to the scientific ideals of emotional detachment? Can’t you just counter his arguments as you see them rationally without getting so worked up?

    Or just ignore them if you feel they are entirely without merit, whatever.

    Note that I am not even saying you’re wrong.

    To reiterate: Chill.

  179. #180 Dave
    February 2, 2007

    Interesting quote:

    “the same supercilious and inflated sense of intellectual self-worth”

    I could apply the very same opinion to this article. Really it would me much better if the tone wasn’t just “Scott is an idiot” and concentrated a little bit more on why! His comments about the Big Bang were an example of trying to apply the “Scientific method” to something that ultimately requires a leap of faith either way.

    For what it’s worth, I am an atheist and have to cope with the notion that either I accept that something came from nothing or the something it came from has always existed. Neither are particularly palatable but I embrace the almost-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue feeling of that without falling into the arms of a god. I heave a sigh every time Scott goes down these lines because he appears to have arrived at his definitions having dismissed any counter-argument you can come up with and then dismisses them when you argue them in a simple and calculated fashion. However, it is this logical and cool tone of his posts that I like, whether I agree with him or not.

    And there in lies the difference between the two of you. His posts make me think, yours just makes me angry. Lighten up and perhaps you can come up with a counter gambit that has a little bit more class than: “You idiot”.

    Scott a Creationist? Yeah, that’s a good one! He’s the classic intellectual Agnostic!

  180. #181 JD
    February 2, 2007

    Adams enjoys playing devil’s advocate a lot, but I think his motives in stirring up the bubbling pot of crap that is the Internet go a little deeper than that. He likes to challenge people’s assumptions and perceptions.

    Of course, that doesn’t stop him from adopting a superior tone every now and again, as if his admission that he doesn’t know much gives him a Socratic right to lecture on anything.

    I still like his blog posts: even if I don’t look at the world differently after reading, I still question why I look at it the way I do.

  181. #182 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    I love the way the Dildoids expend so much time and passionate energy- to argue that Adams should not be taken seriously! Irony is dead in Dibertland…

  182. #183 Robert B
    February 2, 2007

    You know, PZ, you’re getting worked up WAY more than you should be. If you’re right, then in a hundred years, you’ll be dust and won’t know better. Stop getting annoyed at this, pull out whatever you have up your ass, and RELAX.

    Secondly, it’s fascinating that everything that supports what you say is “Science” while any scientists who would questin your belief in evolution is not a scientist at all. That means your theory is not falsifiable, failing any test of science. In other words, you are unscientific and fall into the same category of people you throw shit at.

    Just my $0.02

  183. #184 Ray Farrell
    February 2, 2007

    Adam’s is making a reductio ad absurdum argument against free will. He does not believe the universe is created or intelligent.

  184. #185 Terry
    February 2, 2007

    BOCTAE.

  185. #186 Marcel
    February 2, 2007

    1. As neither PZ or Scott Adams created this universe, neither should assume they are correct.

    2. Scott Adams provokes thoughts so that YOU (the reader) may decide what is right for YOU, irrespective of whether he is correct or not. PZ seems to need validation from being correct, not whether he provokes YOU (the reader) to think for yourself.

    3. Adams is definitely funnier & worth reading more than once (even if I think he’s thinking is a bit screwy sometimes). Sorry, but I’m unlikely to read THIS blog again.

    4. It would be great to watch a debate, purely to see the facial reactions of the participants. I would love to see who loses his temper first (my bet is on PZ).

    5. Is this really a scientific debate at all? Come on, this is philosophy and let’s be honest – both authors have good points & bad points, but to resort to name-calling and mud-slinging is shameful. Shame on you guys, shame! Then again, this isn’t the first time Scott has used this tactic to get a laugh to to provoke a thought so I’m not exactly surprised (or disappointed).

    Finally:
    “What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason.” – Voltaire

    So, this debate is not new at all … just the medium is.

  186. #187 Warren
    February 2, 2007

    Scott Adams is addressing the biggest questions he can find. This is a luxury he can afford as a result of his popularity giving him a good income and extra attention to his blog.

    If he is wrong in his results. Or rather, if you disagree, you are free to show where his thinking can be improved. You are not free to be rude or abusive. Calling someone “Stupid” is not an attempt to educate, it is an attempt to feel superior.

  187. #188 Adamus
    February 2, 2007

    I gave up reading Scott Adams’ blog shortly after it began when he first tackled Intelligent Design and came off looking like an ignorant tart (and a sore loser when his arguments were skillfully dissected).

    He can make a funny comic (even if it gets awfully repetitive and most of the ideas come from others), but his attempt at intellectual humor outside of the Dilbert cartoons are rather pathetic.

  188. #189 Clay
    February 2, 2007

    I love PHd’s, so sure that their brand of science is the correct one. Said not as a Scott Adams fan, but one you consistantly works in the University System as a consultant.

    I do not know you, nor do I agree or disagree weith your opnions of science. What I do say is there are just as many scientists with better degrees from better Universities that would disagree with you. Now with another PHd you make havbe a spirited discussion, but to look down upon on who does not suscribe to your version of science is just plain stupid.

    I do not know how long you have been in your field, but as as Associate Professor it has not been very long. If you have been in the field longer than 7 years why are you not tenured? Is your researh that weak? Or perhaps you found that you would like to speak publicly and receive the stipends that come with talking about research ratrher than doing it. You sir are a Model American.

  189. #190 DavidPetros
    February 2, 2007

    Hmmm… I see there seems to be a debate (euphemism for argument) going on between Scott and PZ.

    I’m a “newbie” to these blogs (don’t usually have time to spend on them except when I have a couple of days off work)…

    One thing that has struck me about Evolutionists, they love to say such personal things about those who beleive in Creation. It is such a wonderful testimony to their characters… (tsk tsk tsk…)

    I wonder if they realise that Evolutionism is really “a religion” – because of its “belief” statements. Further, have any of them studied the history of the chaps who proposed these “theories”; and their motives…
    They were not pure science – unfortunately… :(

  190. #191 Zeno
    February 2, 2007

    From the longest post on this thread: I have better things to do with my time than participate in Futile Internet Debate #4059010, you know?

    Apparently not. And a couple of days later, PZ’s poke at Scott Adams is still the hottest topic on Science Blogs.

    Sheesh.

  191. #192 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    Said not as a Scott Adams fan, but one you consistantly works in the University System as a consultant.

    Ah, an illiterate who despises knowledge. How very original. [yawn]

  192. #193 PZ Myers
    February 2, 2007

    And a couple of days later, PZ’s poke at Scott Adams is still the hottest topic on Science Blogs.

    Yes, and I love how now they’re getting all irate at how much time and effort I spend obsessing over their pal, Scott Adams. Never mind that I wrote one post on his inanity 3 days ago, and that the Dilbonians seem to be the ones obsessed with howling their disagreement here.

    I also like how many of his supporters are outraged that I would think Adams was advocating creationism, who at the same time dribble out anti-science and anti-evolution sentiments. Go ahead, shoot yourselves in the foot, people — I find it so intimidating.

    Unfortunately, one dismaying thing is how illiterate many of the Dilbonians are. It’s a little embarrassing. Even the creationists who comment here now and then tend to be more competent at the English language than some of this horde.

  193. #194 DavidPetros
    February 2, 2007

    Pharyngula – Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal

    PZ – you seem to be calling yourself a wanker… ?

    I find it amazing how those who are liberals don’t have the liberty to allow others to have a difefering viewpoint :(

  194. #195 DavidPetros
    February 2, 2007

    Well said Christine B – PZ should “get a life” !

  195. #196 Steve Miller
    February 2, 2007

    And you DON’T have a horde of “pea-brained locusts” fans? Give me a break!

  196. #197 Paranoid Individual
    February 2, 2007

    I can’t decide which is more amusing – reading the flame wars that erupt between the reglious/athetist and free-will-loving/free-will-questioning sects on the Dilbert Blog, or reading the flame war erupting between Dilbert blog fans and PZ fans.

    It is sort of interesting, though, to see groups of people previously at each other’s throats suddenly uniting under their generals. It sort of feels like a microcosmic example of international politics?

    How long will it take for Godwin’s Law to take effect do you think? And have I broken Godwin’s Law by bringing it up?

  197. #198 Henre
    February 2, 2007

    Different strokes for different folks. What is funny to me might not be funny to you. Does that make him dumb? Maybe…does that make you dumb? Maybe…

    People who take his word literally are looking for something to believe in…maybe not. And they have the right to.

    People who read it for pleasure and humour, identify with his and might not with yours, or your lack thereof. All you have proven (to me only, because I have consciously decided so) is that you (dis)like Scot Adams because he allows you to vent your frustration here and get your community to comment. And Scot’s community for that matter. And get yours to comment on his blog. Which is awesome. And intelligent, or very stupid. And circular…Isn’t that how it all started?

  198. #199 jim
    February 2, 2007

    Scott Adams is brillant.
    I will only use the word brillant for my argument.

  199. #200 Henre
    February 2, 2007

    Who’s Godwin? Yes, I am in no professional capacity able to comment on any of this. But I find it amuzing, and it’s Friday, and I can. Isn’t that intelligence? Being able to recognize your lack of intelligence? In certain aspects of life, or in general? Isn’t naivety intelligent? Or intelligence naive? It’s circular nonetheless.

  200. #201 Gavin
    February 2, 2007

    “Unfortunately, one dismaying thing is how illiterate many of the Dilbonians are.”

    Is that a split infinitive I spy?

    You should pick on people’s sentiment, not their literacy skills. There are any number of reasons why people’s English may be less than perfect. Implying that these people are stupid is basically name calling, which is rather pathetic.

    Show some class.

  201. #202 Alex
    February 2, 2007

    Without regard to any of your other opinions, I fail to see how a person who freely admits a lack of sense of humor thinks he can judge that of someone else. A sense of humor cannot be judged intellectually, it can only be experienced. That experience is greatly diminished without the ability to not only perceive but to understand and enjoy humor.

  202. #203 Aaron Hawkins
    February 2, 2007

    Did you even read anything that Scott wrote? If you had any sense to actually read something and take the point of view of the writer, you might comprehend a few of the things that he said. Instead, all I see is you taking excerpts from his posts and completely twisting his words around.

    As far as I can tell, it seems that your entire agenda is to support evolution to the letter without trying to understand the idea itself. Your lack of tolerance to philosophies that are minutely different from your own only proves to display your ignorance on your own account.

    I believe in evolution myself. But, that does not mean that I believe it to the letter or that I rule out completely the possibility of creationism and evolution existing within the same universe. Everything is made of energy and in that, it can be said that the universe shares a single “consciousness”. Therefore, it is entirely
    possible that the universe’s “consciousness” is the reason we were able to evolve into intelligent life. However, from what I have read of your posts, it is difficult to tell whether you can be classified under that category.

    Perhaps, you should develop some tolerance to other’s ideas. Without the sharing of ideas like that, we would have been stuck in the dark ages for much longer than we were. I would hate to know that even though we have come this far, there are people like you swaying others to be as close minded as most “creationists”. Or better yet, before you begin to criticize someone for their writings, perhaps you should take the time to do some REAL research and actually find out the intentions of the writer.

    For the other readers, I emplore you to read some of Scott Adams’ writings in full before casting your judgement upon them or the writer.

  203. #204 disp
    February 2, 2007

    I read the Dilbert Blog on a daily basis. I don’t agree with all of them but about 30-50% are amusing on some level and thats worth the price of admission.

    This post seemed to fail in its logical conclusions so I didn’t pay it much attention. I believe that anyone who posts detailed opinions on a daily basis will stumble/fail/incite occasionally and that is the nature of the beast when you put yourself out there without the controls of publishing and editing.

    There seems to be a history between the two of you and your attack seems a little harsh. Don’t you think you’re taking the subject a little too seriously?

  204. #205 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    Ow. The stupid it burns.

  205. #206 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    This post seemed to fail in its logical conclusions so I didn’t pay it much attention.

    And that’s why you’re here bitching about it? Hilarious.

  206. #207 Simon
    February 2, 2007

    I love how this argument about Intelligent Design makes most of you guys predictable like a coin sorting machine. ;-)

  207. #208 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    Indeed- self-satisfied ignorance has a predictably irritating effect on well-informed people. What a surprise.

  208. #209 Carl Rabbin
    February 2, 2007

    I was just wondering… Has any scientist ever seen a new species spring from an old species? That is the main aspect of evolution that creationists can’t accept. All the parts about natural selection of traits within a species are accepted because they do not require species change. Please, someone, provide an example of a child who cannot mate with his co-speciesists, i.e., a species change. I’m sure it has happened, but no one has yet ever seen it happen. If I am wrong, point me to the book describing it.

  209. #211 PZ Myers
    February 2, 2007

    If I am wrong, point me to the book describing it.

    here, Here, here. Or read Coyne and Orr’s Speciation.

    Creationists are so pathetically ignorant.

  210. #212 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    Type “metamorphosis evolution” into the search box. Press return. You’ll get about 1500 papers on various aspects of the phenomenon.

    Your personal ignorance is not an excuse.

    Big whoop. More theories, more typical, faith-based conjecture…you can’t prove it because you can’t reproduce it, and you can’t watch it occur in nature. You, and those oh so glorious papers, have no proof. What you have is circumstantial “evidence” that may or may not point you in a certain direction.

    Your personal “assholeness” is hardly an excuse. Your intransigence is no different than that of a bible-thumper. Two sides of the same coin… and may the coming revolution/plague/natural disaster claim you both.

  211. #213 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    So you’ve read those 1500 papers, asshole? I mean, you wouldn’t shoot off your mouth without having any idea what you’re talking about, would you?

  212. #214 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    The Dildoids and their idol are perfect examples of the disgusting intellectual laziness, smug ignorance, and contempt for knowledge that characterize a large majority of the American public today. Which is why this country is in the process of exemplifying the old adage, “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generation”, on a grand scale.

  213. #215 Bayma
    February 2, 2007

    Wow. I am amazed at how you really don’t understand not only the things you read, but write. I love how you can’t wrap your head around what Scott says, become upset, and then rant about how upset you are at your own misunderstanding! Kudos SFB! Cracker Jack called and they want their degrees back.

  214. #216 Aengil
    February 2, 2007

    I spent a while debating (in the loosest sense) on here the last time this came up. I see nothing much has changed – it’s still basically a few people yelling about some misinterpretations and unwarranted assumptions. But of course they can’t possibly have misinterpreted anything or made assumptions because, well, I guess they’re just too smart to ever be wrong.

    Well, I’m not even going to begin to start debating this after last time. Suffice to say, guys, you’re not as smart as you think you are and you’re doing a damn good job of illustrating that. My part of the scientific community over here thanks you for the laughs though.

  215. #217 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    So you’ve read those 1500 papers, asshole? I mean, you wouldn’t shoot off your mouth without having any idea what you’re talking about, would you?

    Nope. I haven’t. You caught me. So, since you obviously have read all 1500 papers, perhaps you can come down from your own personal cloud and show me one of them that offers PROOF…not hypothesis. Just one. I mean, it must exist, or you wouldn’t shoot off your mouth without having any idea what you’re talking about, would you?

  216. #218 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    The slightly more rational faction among the Dildoids, who claim that Adams is jes’ funnin’ and one should take no nevermind, might want to take note of the typical-dimwit-creationist company they find themselves in. It reallt ought to worry them. But I’m sure it won’t.

  217. #219 MartinM
    February 2, 2007

    the fact is all the birds are still birds, all the fish are still fish, etc

    In much the same way as humans are still Eukaryotes.

  218. #220 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    Please. Go play with your friends at Uncommon Descent.

    Snort. Typical. If I find your own personal belief system flawed, you immediately assume I believe in Intelligent Design. I don’t. In fact, I would find myself in the atheist camp if it weren’t populated with the same sort of mouth breathers you find in the hardcore religious one.

    Like I said, both sides make me ill. But usually one finds that people like you are more mean spirited, condescending, and foolish.

  219. #221 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    In much the same way as humans are still Eukaryotes

    You must slay them in the lab, since I can only assume that this was some scientist’s attempt at humour.

    Otherwise, what is your point?

  220. #222 MartinM
    February 2, 2007

    In fact, I would find myself in the atheist camp if it weren’t populated with the same sort of mouth breathers you find in the hardcore religious one

    One might think the truth of a position more important than those who share it.

  221. #223 Rey Fox
    February 2, 2007

    No intelligent design either, huh? So, Steve, what’s your working model for the diversity of life on Earth? Or do you just not have one and for some reason think that entitles you to feel smug and superior towards the people who do have one? No wonder you’re such a fan of Scott Adams, he seems to exemplify that sort of thinking.

  222. #224 MartinM
    February 2, 2007

    Otherwise, what is your point?

    The point is that evolution does not predict that, say, ‘birds’ will give rise to anything other than ‘birds.’ The descendants of extant birds will be different types of bird, but they will remain birds, because that’s how evolution works. It’s a branching process, not a ladder.

  223. #225 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    You are asking for a contemporary recapitulation within a few observable generations of a process that required hundreds of millions of years. We can show you the transitional fossils, but your brain is so rigid and ignorant that you probably deny them, too.

    No, I think I am rather open-minded. If you can show me some transitional fossils that show, without conjecture, that there was a particular species of fish that transformed into a mammal or bird, then do so. Would these transitional fossils offer that level of clarity, or would it more be in the lines of having to first believe in some sort of abstract hypothesis, and then fit the fossil into that belief?

  224. #226 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    No intelligent design either, huh? So, Steve, what’s your working model for the diversity of life on Earth? Or do you just not have one and for some reason think that entitles you to feel smug and superior towards the people who do have one? No wonder you’re such a fan of Scott Adams, he seems to exemplify that sort of thinking.

    Smug and superior? I suppose I do feel that way. I guess, in that, we have something in common.

    Do I have a theory? Nope. Are you saying I have to have an unfounded belief before I can find someone else’s irrational or, in the case of evolutionary theory, woefully inadequate and incomplete?

  225. #227 PZ Myers
    February 2, 2007

    You still aren’t getting it.

    Hundreds of millions of years.

    There isn’t one species that you’d call a fish, and the next species that you’d call a mammal. There are species that are fishlike, and there are species that are fish-like with similarities to amphibians (like Tiktaalik, then amphibians with fishlike affinities, then amphibians looking rather reptilian, and reptiles that have mammal-like characters, then something that is clearly a very primitive mammal.

    Read this. You are asking foolish questions about what is among the best documented transitions in the fossil record. You aren’t looking open-minded at all — you’ve made up your mind on the basis of truly abysmal ignorance.

  226. #228 PZ Myers
    February 2, 2007

    Really — look at this image. Read Zimmer’s At the Water’s Edge. People who say the kinds of things you do are embarrassing themselves.

  227. #229 Rey Fox
    February 2, 2007

    “Smug and superior? I suppose I do feel that way. I guess, in that, we have something in common.”

    The crucial difference is that we have evidence to back it up.

    “woefully inadequate and incomplete?”

    You only say that because you’re too lazy to read up on it. The fact that the “proof” of evolution that you need is a fish changing into a bird speaks volumes about not only how little you understand evolution, but how little mental effort you’re willing to expend in order to understand it.

  228. #230 MartinM
    February 2, 2007

    If that is the extent of evolutionary theory, then sign me up. But Prof. Myers mentioned ‘transitional fossils’ which, I can only assume, he was offering as proof of a transitional stage between species (fish to mammals, for instance). Have I misinterpreted his comments, yours, or both combined?

    Mine, I believe. Each species belongs to many different groups; for example, we are hominids, apes, mammals, animals, eukaryotes etc. etc.
    And each of those groups contains multiple species. Each group lies completely within the higher groups; that is, there are no apes which are not also mammals, animals and eukaryotes. And when the first hominid species formed, it didn’t cease being an ape. It retained its evolutionary heritage.

    So, dinosaurs -> birds is OK, because birds are just a special kind of dinosaur. Birds -> not birds, on the other hand, doesn’t happen.

  229. #231 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    Good grief. Most of us aren’t even scientists and we understand how evolution works.
    We haven’t read papers either, but understanding evolution doesn’t require that.

    You were quite comfortable coming here where it is understood and important to the people here and act as if we’re the jerks.

  230. #232 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    So, dinosaurs -> birds is OK, because birds are just a special kind of dinosaur. Birds -> not birds, on the other hand, doesn’t happen.

    But, again I might be misinterpreting something, but Prof Myers sent me a link to http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html which discusses exactly that…fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals.

  231. #233 Rey Fox
    February 2, 2007

    Ignorance is often forgivable. What’s bothersome to biologists is people challenging them from that ignorance. You wouldn’t snipe at a particle physicist just because you’ve never actually seen a quark, would you?

  232. #234 Blake Stacey
    February 2, 2007

    Aaron Hawkins says:

    For the other readers, I emplore you to read some of Scott Adams’ writings in full before casting your judgement upon them or the writer.

    There is some justice in this (and certainly, anyone advocating rational judgments gets a plus in my book). I don’t think that a body of reasonable writing can magically make a bad essay good. Consider, for example, the case of Stephen J. Gould: a lucid writer who produced an astonishing quantity of prose, some of it truly inspirational. Nevertheless, this hefty corpus of quality work doesn’t make him above criticism. I don’t have any trouble when Russell Blackford says, “Gould remains incapable of writing a thoroughly bad book, but he’s gone close to doing so with his 1999 effort, Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life.

    The same goes for any other prominent figure. I don’t think Carl Sagan handled the Velikovsky affair very well, and my admiration for Cosmos, Pale Blue Dot and The Demon-Haunted World doesn’t change that. I find James Burke’s Connections insightful and prescient, and I think Connections 2 is rollicking fun, but that doesn’t mean I have to embrace the epistemological relativism of The Day the Universe Changed‘s final episode. And so on.

    Back in the day, I read a lot of Scott Adams. In addition to following Dilbert in the daily paper, I read The Dilbert Principle, followed by The Dilbert Future, Dogbert’s Management Handbook and The Joy of Work. So, I speak with some supporting data when I say that Adams has been a moderately incisive cynic about office politics and the technology industry, while his philosophy has always been juvenile and his speculations about science muddled.

  233. #235 llewelly
    February 2, 2007

    I think this fracas raising a fascinating question:
    When did ignorance become a sense of humor?

  234. #236 Rey Fox
    February 2, 2007

    The point is that such large changes don’t happen in one step. It takes millions of generations to get from one order of creature to another (in simple terms). And remember also that when we speak of “birds” and “fish”, we’re going off of human definitions and delineations that come mostly from observations of animal life in the present day. Life in evolutionary time is much more of a smooth continuum. Would you call Archaeopteryx a bird because it has feathers and proto-wings, or a dinosaur because it’s mostly covered with scales and has a mouth with teeth? It’s not as clear cut as “dinosaur to bird”.

  235. #237 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    But, again I might be misinterpreting something, but Prof Myers sent me a link to http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html which discusses exactly that…fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals.

    Yup. You’re not quite getting it. Keep reading.

  236. #238 MissPrism
    February 2, 2007

    Christ in tights, Steve! PZ must spend several hours every day hauling this kind of information out of the technical literature and making it digestible and palatable for the layman. And now he’s giving you your own personal spoon-feeding (big aah! here comes the aeroplane!), and you’re still whining, “But I’m only ignorant because I don’t know anything!”.

    I agree that the ha-ha-knowing-stuff-is-for-nerds culture that keeps this knowledge out of the public eye is a terrible thing. But if you want to complain to someone about it, might I suggest Scott Adams?

  237. #239 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    Good grief. Most of us aren’t even scientists and we understand how evolution works.
    We haven’t read papers either, but understanding evolution doesn’t require that.

    You were quite comfortable coming here where it is understood and important to the people here and act as if we’re the jerks.

    But you are jerks. Re-read your own insulting and condescending posts before my initial one. I was only responding in like fashion. I assumed that this was how ideas were exchanged around here…especially given the tone of this blog.

    Except for my initial dig on MartinM’s post on eukaryotes, he and I have exchanged questions (on my part) and answers or rather clarification of answers (on his part) in a seemingly friendly fashion. That’s how it should be done.

    Regardless of what you think you know about evolution, I can easily guarantee it is incomplete and inaccurate. That is, after all, the very nature of this particular branch of scientific research.

    In my attempts to research this in the past, I have met with exactly what most people will meet with…too many questions with either no answers, or answers so inaccessible that they just confuse the issue. Throw condescension and a holier-than-thou attitude into the mix by your kind, and perhaps you can see why some of us “ignorant” people would rather laugh in the faces of you “scientifiky-types” and steal your lunch money.

  238. #240 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    Christ in tights, Steve! PZ must spend several hours every day hauling this kind of information out of the technical literature and making it digestible and palatable for the layman. And now he’s giving you your own personal spoon-feeding (big aah! here comes the aeroplane!), and you’re still whining, “But I’m only ignorant because I don’t know anything!”.

    I agree that the ha-ha-knowing-stuff-is-for-nerds culture that keeps this knowledge out of the public eye is a terrible thing. But if you want to complain to someone about it, might I suggest Scott Adams?

    Really. Is that what he was doing? I thought he was insulting someone whose opinions he disagreed with. Perhaps I misread his blog entry.

    And if I complained to Scott Adams, what would that get me? He draws a comic strip. How does that translate into debating his opinion on anything?

    I simply wasn’t aware that there was finally some accessible literature, still woefully inadequate but it’s a start.

    And as for him spoon-feeding me? Please…of flinging slop into my face like I was some beggar on the streets who dared soiled his personal space is “spoon-feeding”, I hope to hell you never have kids.

  239. #241 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    Wow. Just wow.

    I’m sorry, but your ignorance was blaringly obvious and quite typical, we hear it from IDers and Creationists all the time. Why would we assume you were any different?

    Adams fans were coming here to defend some stupid shit he said… by spouting more inane and irrelevant crap. Gee, wonder why we jumped all over them.

  240. #242 PZ Myers
    February 2, 2007

    So, is it any wonder that people like me, members of the general public, are unaware of these findings? Now, is my “ignorance” abysmal or simply a product of inaccessible information (inaccessible in the sense that it is dry and “…often buried in incredibly dense and tedious “skull & bones” papers utterly inaccessible to the general public.”

    Your ignorance is abysmal. It’s not because you don’t know something; that’s perfectly OK, and there are lots of things I don’t know, too. Your foolishness resides in not knowing something and then declaring that you are informed enough to be able to weigh in against evolution. I don’t know Chinese, and if someone waves a Chinese newspaper in my face, I’ll simply say I don’t read the language — I won’t start making stuff up about the content of the articles.

    Also, a lot of this information is in rather esoteric form in journal articles. However, much of it has also been translated into the popular press: National Geographic has had articles on fossil tetrapods, and I’ve already recommended Zimmer’s excellent At the Water’s Edge. It’s not hard to find, if you look. And if you don’t even look, you look like an idiot when you dismiss it.

  241. #243 MissPrism
    February 2, 2007

    I hope I never have kids too. Thanks to those scientifiky-types you despise so much, I needn’t!

  242. #244 llewelly
    February 2, 2007

    I said:

    I think this fracas raising a fascinating question:
    When did ignorance become a sense of humor?

    and ironically my own joke was destroyed by my own apparent grammatical ignorance. I intended:

    I think this fracas raises a fascinating question:
    When did ignorance become a sense of humor?

  243. #245 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    Sigh…I never said I knew anything. I did, however, make the obviously big mistake of questioning the validity of some of your own scientific beliefs…which in one sense could be construed as the same as claiming I know something. But if you re-read my posts, if you are so inclined, they were mostly about the tone of your initial blog entry, and the tone of the subsequent posts of your “believers”.

    I do have questions, way more than I have answers on any topic, however, and while those links and books you provide are some help, I still don’t see how anyone can say that some of the literature is not still simple conjecture (educated conjecture, yes, but conjecture nonetheless).

  244. #246 Uber
    February 2, 2007

    Steve-

    I’m late coming here and frankly the little I’ve read of you above is not impressive. Can you please list what you think is conjecture about a theory that has been used successfully for quite awhile now?

    Please just 2-3 items. It seems to me your willfully ignoring huge swathes of information and focusing perhaps on a few areas that may be less flushed out. Even a casual reading of this website and some popular literature would inform you enough not to be making some of the statements you are producing here.

  245. #247 Anton Mates
    February 2, 2007

    Adams started by arguing that ID and evolution were equally iffy, and he got ripped a new one. Then he backed off and said, well, sure, ID and creationism are unscientific, and that’s exactly why we should teach them! For comparison! And he got ripped a new one, again.

    How some people get that impression from Scott’s first post is far and away beyond me. He’s discussing how people from both sides tend to only attack the things which are easy to disprove. He’s not discussing the sides themselves at all.

    You don’t think “For example, Darwinists often argue that Intelligent Design can’t be true because we know the earth is over 10,000 years old. That would be a great argument, supported by every relevant branch of science, except that it has nothing to do with Intelligent Design.”

    or

    “Intelligent Design accepts an old earth and even accepts the fact that species probably evolved. They only question the “how.””

    or

    “If you add to that the outright errors (acknowledged by both sides), the history of fossil frauds, the subjectivity of classifying fossils, and the fact that all of the human-like fossils ever found can fit inside a small box, you have lots of easy targets for the opponents.”

    have anything to do with the content of ID and evolutionary theory?

    Then he backed off and said we should teach ID because it’s unscientific? He until then hadn’t said anything about teaching ID at all. You can’t back off from a place you never were.

    He backed off from his position on ID’s scientific validity, then came back with a different argument on why ID should still be taught about and discussed (and why scientists were fighting this.)

    Furthermore he was proposing that ID be taught as an example of things which are unscientific, not as a comparison to evolution.

    “Kids, astronomy is science and astrology isn’t. Here are some more examples of things that aren’t science…”

    That’s comparison.

    Furtherfurthermore, teaching ID in schools as an example of unscience is nothing at all to do with how people on both sides of the fence act, let alone a step back.

    Each of his posts is more than one sentence long, and contains multiple ideas and arguments.

    Now he’s taken another step back–”Well, when I talk about intelligent design, I really mean this idiosyncratic definition of “intelligence” which doesn’t have anything to do with creationism or ID, so you can’t complain about that, can you?”

    How interesting that you equate a post about the definition of intelligence as somehow connected to the quite earlier posts on intelligent design.

    Yes, isn’t it odd? Just because he winds up with “Therefore, we are created by an intelligent entity,” I somehow connect that to intelligent design. Strange.

    Furthermore he did not say anything about retconning this definition of intelligence back to his earlier posts, and furthermore if it WAS retconned back there it would break most of them.

    Which rather amply explains why he didn’t say anything about retconning it.

  246. #248 RJ
    February 2, 2007

    I don’t take sides with Scott on every subject, but one thing I think we would agree on is this, you are a fucking idiot.

  247. #249 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    You’re a tool. Wasn’t that productive?

  248. #250 SRC
    February 2, 2007

    Hmmm….. devil’s advocate is an unpopular position. Given that I will take it anyways.

    I am seeing a crime on this as well the mentality taken by so many posters here including the original. Thought, even shallow thought, taken for its own ends in the exercise of looking at something from different angles is worthwhile. Myself I am a critical person, I am an agnostic/athiest depending on your idea of the definition, I like to research any claims made, and I love dynamic thought and comprehensive discussion.
    Take a page from Penn and Teller with Bullshit,if you are being bias, admit it, enjoy it, don’t be a dick about it, and have some sympathy not just arrogance.
    Creationism is a weak argument but it is their side, defeat the claims don’t dismiss the people who believe them.

    People get taken in by attractive ideas because they don’t think and they are easy. Reacting with spite, to people who get sucked into these ideas doesn’t make you smarter than them it makes you an asshole. Enlighten and educate, don’t just judge and sit feeling special because you didn’t fall for a trick. Help others get them thinking.

    As trivial as some of the nonsense Scott Adams brings up are, he trys to get people to think. That is more than this self important drudge accomplishes.

  249. #251 Radek
    February 2, 2007

    Take it easy, guys!

  250. #252 Eric
    February 2, 2007

    I enjoyed your blog up until this post. Stop being such a baby.

  251. #253 SEC
    February 2, 2007

    WOW!! PZ it seems that you and the people who read this blog take yourselves waaaaaay to seriously. Self-important, Humorless, Auto-fellating, Ass Hat. I had to read for myself. So far from what I have read it seems a good description.

    I find it interesting the way we each choose to make sense out of life as we know it. The way our brains have to make sense and order what they see, feel, hear, smell, touch, or perceive to be real.

    I’ll have to follow your blog more to really decide what I think. But then, I really don’t care and what you say or do really doesn’t matter.

  252. #254 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    It continues to fascinate me that all these people who “don’t care” still take the trouble to come here and comment. Really, you guys are as bad at lying as you are at thinking and writing.

  253. #255 RJ
    February 2, 2007

    Radek makes a valid point; we do need to take it easy, myself included. I’m a fairly regular reader of Scott’s blog, and had to come take a look at the “opposition”. The blog’s interpretation of Scott’s own musings seemed to me a bit off, to say the least. Still, I think we should focus on the goal that we all seem to share: the discussion of ideas, and stop making so many personal attacks. I’m willing to try it.

  254. #256 Clay
    February 2, 2007

    Steve LaBonne: Ah, an illiterate who despises knowledge. How very original. [yawn]

    I see you are from this statement, what I said was there is much knowledge on both sides, what makes one better than another or to be more concise, what makes you better than me?

    You obvious inferiorty complex shows rather well, study hard at another inferior college with a PHd you could not defend by yourself? I write doctorates for people like you all day long, and they are stupid enough to pay me for it. Someday I will take that money and hire a monkey to take dictation since my typing sucks so bad.

  255. #257 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    We can see that. But I don’t think the problem is limtied to typing by any means…

  256. #258 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    Please just 2-3 items. It seems to me your willfully ignoring huge swathes of information and focusing perhaps on a few areas that may be less flushed out. Even a casual reading of this website and some popular literature would inform you enough not to be making some of the statements you are producing here.

    Caterpillar to butterfly…evolutionary genesis?

    To see where I started on this “idea” that evolution may NOT explain everything I would like to see explained, read:

    http://www.fredoneverything.net/EvolutionMonster.shtml

    Later on he wrote another article: http://www.fredoneverything.net/EvolutionPhiladelphia.shtml which basically discussed the comments to his original one.

    What is funny is that the reactions he mentions he got from the evolutionists exactly describe the reactions here.

    I especially like Fred’s assertion that evolutionary theory often times relies on plausibility as opposed to evidence.

    Frankly, I have some more reading to do, and I am sure more questions. Obviously, you all have the answers so I will acquiesce to you on the matter.

  257. #259 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    Scotts fans aren’t here for a discussion. They were sicked here by Scott. Blah blah blah. And more often then not they sound like whiney little teenagers.

  258. #260 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    RJ: smug, aggressive, smartass displays of abysmal ignorance are a bad thing and an important symptom of what has gone so badly wrong in this country. The day I stop caring about that is the day I’m ready for the morgue.

  259. #261 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    And it’s thought that butterflies evolved from moths.

    Evloving from a caterpillar to a butterfly makes no sense.

    Do tadpoles evolve from eggs?

    A caterpillar is just a stage in the development of the butterfly.

  260. #262 RJ
    February 2, 2007

    Steve LaBonne,
    I’m with you there. Many, if not most Americans (as well, i’m sure, people all over the world) have trouble restraining their “smug, aggressive, smartass displays of abysmal ignorance.” Tolerance is an under-rated virtue. Something I think we can all work at. As for you Steve_C, I heartily take offense to your claim that “more often than not, [Scott fans] sound like whiney little teenagers.” I’m eighteen.

  261. #263 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    So you are a teenager… perhaps not whiney.

    If you read posts above such as Marina’s you’ll see what I mean.

  262. #264 Uber
    February 2, 2007

    Caterpillar to butterfly…evolutionary genesis

    This is a rather silly query and frankly I can see why you are so confused. Caterpillars do not evolve from butterflys but rather grow from them. This is simple development question more analagous to how you grow from a fetus.

    This was rather simply put on talkorigins:
    ‘Butterflies don’t evolve from caterpillars; butterflies develop from caterpillars. How it happens is a problem in developmental biology, not evolutionary biology. It is akin to the problem of how adult humans develop from embryos. It happens every day, so it obviously is not a theoretical difficulty.

    Fruit flies go through the same developmental stages as caterpillars and butterflies, and the research on fruit fly genetics is very extensive. Anyone who is interested in how butterflies develop is advised to look in that research’

    you can learn more here:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB311_1.html

  263. #265 Taylor
    February 2, 2007

    Scott adams has only ever indulged his own curiosity – all of his questions and insights have an air of “spur of the moment” about them and should be taken as such. His motivations and our speculation about his intelligence aside, his blog should be read with only the idea that you are reading the musings of a person we can, at least in part, identify with. This is the internet, children – don’t take it all so seriously. Complain all you like about how his theories are full of holes – so are mine and so are yours, and he, at least, claims no level of accuracy

  264. #266 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    A caterpillar is just a stage in the development of the butterfly.

    According to what empirical evidence? You make that assertion as if you were basing it on…dare I say it…faith. Since there are no fossilized caterpillars that I am aware of, how do you know there weren’t some sort of primitive caterpillars that lived their whole lives without becoming a butterfly?

    Look, this argument is circular, and serves no function if one side is unwilling to admit that they might not have all the answers. Starting a theory or statement with “We think it is this way, based on models we have created. We can’t be 100% sure, but it is certainly the most plausible explanation” is not such a bad thing.

  265. #267 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    DUDE! You can see a caterpillar transform into a pupa and then into a butterfly. It’s a stage in the development.

  266. #268 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    This talkorigins site is interesting, but I find it funny that it resembles sites that “help” people answer tough questions about a religion.

    What the “answer” doesn’t, in fact, answer is: can you explain the evolutionary path (from caterpillar to butterfly, I mean)? The answer is usually, we don’t need to because it’s just like this or that thing and since this or that thing happens now, we don’t need to prove the other. Sorry, but you need to. That is what makes science a science.

    Let’s consider that the caterpillar is some sort of larval stage of the butterfly. Why did it evolve that way? What were the factors that led a creature to evolve into something like that? Is your explanation a theory of plausibility or is it based on actual empirical evidence.

    Part of the problem, obviously, is the time frames involved in this field of study. Perhaps that is why I have an issue with it. Too much must be taken on faith, and I certainly lack faith in most things.

  267. #269 Rey Fox
    February 2, 2007

    “Complain all you like about how his theories are full of holes”

    So, if we have permission to complain about his theories, then why do you have to come over here and shake your finger at us for doing just that? Sheesh, you guys are dense.

  268. #270 Steve
    February 2, 2007

    DUDE! You can see a caterpillar transform into a pupa and then into a butterfly. It’s a stage in the development.

    DUDE! Why is it a stage in it’s development? Just ’cause? How did it develop? Since we have no empirical evidence showing how and why, I could easily say some alien’s child developed it in a test tube chemistry set. Since you can’t prove that I am wrong, then by your logic I must be right? This is exactly the same argument that pro-ID people spout.

    Everything in evolution, by definition, had to have a causal effect. What cause and effect allowed something to develop into a species with such a bizarre life-cycle? Do you know, or are you guessing?

  269. #271 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    Since we have no empirical evidence showing how and why,

    Beg pardon, doofus? I was trained as a molecular developmental biologist- in a holometabolous (look it up!) insect (Drosophila),at that. I can tell you firsthand that nowadys we know a HELL OF A LOT about how animal development works (stick around PZ’s blog and he’ll spoonfeed you lots of nice morsels on the subject). What on earth are you babbling about?
    Are you still, perchance, confusing development of an individual organism with evolution?

  270. #272 Uber
    February 2, 2007

    Alright Steve I’m done. You conflate simple development with evolution. I really don’t see what more can be said to someone who is lacking in education this badly. I try to be fair and noninsulting but this is just silly. :

    According to what empirical evidence? You make that assertion as if you were basing it on…dare I say it…faith. Since there are no fossilized caterpillars that I am aware of, how do you know there weren’t some sort of primitive caterpillars that lived their whole lives without becoming a butterfly?

    You can observe a catepillar becoming a butterfly. What more do you need. What you are asking for is a form of neoteny.

    then:

    Why is it a stage in it’s development?

    because we see it change into an adult butterfly mate and start the process over again. Do you even realize how stupid what you just typed is?

    Just ’cause? How did it develop? Since we have no empirical evidence showing how and why, I could easily say some alien’s child developed it in a test tube chemistry set.

    We have many insects studies, we have many insect ancestrys. We understand the process enough to see how it works. Your example is simply silly.

    Since you can’t prove that I am wrong, then by your logic I must be right? This is exactly the same argument that pro-ID people spout.

    We can prove you wrong. We have proven you wrong. We show you insect studies, we show you why the catepillar is a stage of development and you stick your fingers in your ears.

  271. #273 Andrew Hunt
    February 2, 2007

    Wow, purposely misunderstanding someone else’s writing for some sort of creepy superior self satisfaction.

    What did your parents do to make you that sort of person?

  272. #274 octopod
    February 2, 2007

    “Part of the problem…is the time frames”? WTF? Is the problem that you’re unable to conceive of things occurring over long spans of time? I mean, it’s not something to which our brains are ideally suited, but most people manage to work it out if they care to do so.

    Also, I don’t think you’re having trouble taking things on faith, you’re having trouble accepting things as possible. I suspect this is an important distinction.

    Steve, you’ve misread every single thing anyone’s tried to say to you here. Are you being purposefully disingenuous, or did you just never learn to read for comprehension?

  273. #275 CrustyMac
    February 2, 2007

    This whole conversation is what is wrong with blogs in general.

  274. #276 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    Yeah, damn they should all get rid of comments.

  275. #277 Tom
    February 2, 2007

    Have you nothing better to do with your time than criticise the philosophical views of a cartoonist?

  276. #278 Steve_C
    February 2, 2007

    hehehe…

    oh the irony.

  277. #279 RJ
    February 2, 2007

    This whole thing has gotten really silly.

  278. #280 Rey Fox
    February 2, 2007

    Have you nothing better to do with your time than criticize the people who criticise the philosophical views of a cartoonist?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist, I’ll try not to respond to any more obvious hit-and-run commenters.

  279. #281 anon again
    February 2, 2007

    Anton, you’ve now gone back to 2005 to quote from a different Scott Adams blog to the one that Myers has written this post about. It might help a few commenters here to be told that.

    PZ (above):

    I pointed out how stupid his reasoning was

    Humor (Adams in 2005):

    Note: I’m not a believer in Intelligent Design, Creationism, Darwinism, free will, non-monetary compensation, or anything else I can’t eat if I try hard enough.)

    …. What you have instead is each side misrepresenting the other’s position and then making a good argument for why the misrepresentation is wrong. (If you don’t believe me, just watch the comments I get to this post.)

    … (Relax. I’m not saying Darwinism is wrong. I’m saying both sides have lots of easy targets.)

    … My fallback position in situations like this has always been to trust the experts – the scientists – of which more than 90%+ are sure that Darwin got it right.

    … I’d be surprised if 90%+ of scientists are wrong about the evidence for Darwinism. But if you think it’s impossible, you’ve lived a sheltered life.

    Conclusion: Adams is miles in front of the true believers on every side of the scientific question that has PZ, Richard Dawkins, the renowned Labonne and a lesser supporting cast of the touchingly faithful so riled up and so self-important about.

  280. #282 Chris
    February 2, 2007

    Does anybody else remember what Scott’s original post was about? It was about how to decide who was more credible based only on listening to both sides. No scientific testing just deciding who is more credible.

    When you consider how many people do not use any kind of scientific method, and merely decide who they like based on who has the best hair, or who seems the most credible, it’s kind of an important question.

    I think the point is being missed that he also just likes to think as a hobby. He just thinks and writes it down without thinking much on whether it’s wrong or right.

  281. #283 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2007

    No scientific testing just deciding who is more credible.

    And since he has no knowledge or understanding whatsoever of the science involved, he’s in no position to “decide” anything in even a minimally intelligent way. (It’s like George W. Bush’s approach to foreign policy, and we’ve seen how well THAT works.) Which is what PZ was trying to explain to you in the first place.

  282. #284 RJ
    February 2, 2007

    Steve LaBonne,
    As a reader of Scott’s post, one of the things I admire about his writing is that he rarely, if ever, uses a personal attack to further his point (not that a personal attack ever does anyway). He may be critical, and even mocking of others for the purpose of humor, such as in the case of calling PZ Myers a “humorless asshat,” but not for the purpose of argument.

    Upon reading PZ’s critique of Scott’s recent post, my appreciation for Scott’s own technique was only inflated. It wasn’t so much the argument itself, but the tone of PZ’s argument that I took issue with. PZ doesn’t just attack Scott’s argument, he attacks Scott as a means for undercutting Scott’s argument, as well as strengthening his own. For example: “Basically, Adams just outed himself as a feeble hack making tepid arguments that only a creationist could believe.” I could provide more examples, but honestly, I’m too lazy. Just read the post again to plenty more. The point is, not only is PZ’s “reasoning” an ad hominem, but to anyone who doesn’t already agree with him, he ends up looking like a dick. I could be wrong here, but I believe that many of us “Scott readers” reacted negatively to PZ blog post because the post itself felt very negative. Had he simply written a focused, neutral sounding rebuttle to the points in Scott’s post that he disagreed with, I can’t help but wonder that tone would have been reflected in the comments to the blog, both for and against. The reason I’m directing this at you is that you seem to both be a fan of PZ, as well as a relatively level-headed dude. I’m not trying to criticize your approval of PZ, I just wondered what your thoughts were on this matter.

  283. #285 Frank W. Moore
    February 2, 2007

    I had never heard of you before Scott Adams mentioned you. Based on that, I reviewed a few of your other works. He is right, you are a pompus ass, and you really don’t know shit. I would agree that Adams really doesn’t know shit either, but he at least knows that he don’t know shit. Nor do I, nor does any present or past human on this planet.

    What you don’t get is that Adams is pointing out before you decide to make a declaration of some steadfast theory of “everything”, be it God based, Atheist based or a result of the musing of Mongo Pongo of the Congo, you need to have sufficient knowledge. On that basis we are barely starting on the road to “how” let alone any real guess at “why”.

    When we do, I am sure the answers will be far beyond the theories of any church or any arm chair philosopher with a jealousy problem.

    You are guessing, at best, on way too few facts, and I have grave doubts what odds I would give you on your present guesses. You sound like one of those similiarly pompus guys writing in Scientific American 150 years ago when they were predicting we would know “everything” within 50 years.

  284. #286 llewelly
    February 2, 2007

    What you don’t get is that Adams is pointing out before you decide to make a declaration of some steadfast theory of “everything”, be it God based, Atheist based or a result of the musing of Mongo Pongo of the Congo, you need to have sufficient knowledge. On that basis we are barely starting on the road to “how” let alone any real guess at “why”.
    When we do, I am sure the answers will be far beyond the theories of any church or any arm chair philosopher with a jealousy problem.

    (Emphasis mine.)
    Damn. Best irony meter just underwent spontaneous runaway fission.

    Oh well. Back to terrible, sinuful, oh-so demeaning auto-fellatio.

  285. #287 RJ
    February 2, 2007

    llewelly,
    Auto-fellatio? Teach me your ways.

  286. #288 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 2, 2007

    “If there was a ‘before’ to the Big Bang, I have no problem including it in the process and calling it intelligent. But there is no evidence to persuade me that time even existed before the Big Bang, so “before” might be a nonsense concept…”

    As I wrote in 1986:

    Before the Big Bang: News from the Hubble Large Telescope

  287. #289 llewelly
    February 2, 2007

    llewelly,
    Auto-fellatio? Teach me your ways.

    No, no, no. Weren’t you listening to Wise Scott Adams, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator? It’s associated with humorlessness, with ass-hattedness, and with many other attributes deserving of Ridicule, particularly in the exquisite form of Special Purpose Acrohyms Just For You (SPAJFY).

  288. #290 Jake
    February 2, 2007

    I take the practical approach — that something is intelligent if it unambiguously performs tasks that require intelligence. Writing Moby Dick required intelligence. The Big Bang wrote Moby Dick. Therefore, the Big Bang is intelligent, and you and I are created by that same intelligence. Therefore, we are created by an intelligent entity.

    Jesus Christ, don’t be a dumbass, PZ. Doesn’t this strike you as just the same sort of “quirky” pseudo-”deep” kind of “humor” that Scott Adams has been doling out his entire career? Ever read anything by him? A lot of it is like this. Just trying to make little logic jokes like this about something metaphysical in a Douglas Adams sort of way. It’s not nearly as humorous as Dilbert, but he tries. I remember once a LONG time ago in the beginnings of email, I emailed him to tell him that he had a pretty goofy understanding of gravity. His reply was veiled in sarcasm, but I could see through it. I was just tickled at the time that he actually replies and tried to fuck with my head. Right now, you PZ, are having your head seriously fucked with and you are taking it too seriously. Neither of you need the blog traffic, so I suppose this isn’t one of those Bill O’Reilly/Keith Olbermann things. Just clue in and realize that some people have a bizarre sense of humor. Let it go.

  289. #291 George Cauldron
    February 2, 2007

    “Unfortunately, one dismaying thing is how illiterate many of the Dilbonians are.”
    Is that a split infinitive I spy?

    No, it isn’t.

    That’s okay though, the fact that you don’t know what an infinitive is makes your snark even funnier. Just not the way you meant.

  290. #292 IT Intern
    February 3, 2007

    Look, can we all just agree here: PZ is an idiot. Either that or he just wanted a shit-load of traffic on his blog. I’m sticking with the former. You know, while I’m at it, I might as well be honest. Everyone who agrees with PZ is an idiot too. There. It’s settled.

  291. #293 IT Intern
    February 3, 2007

    You know, Steve, you should really feel honored. I took the time to write a separate message just for you. You’re an idiot.

    Ahh, feels good to finally get that out there.

  292. #294 Arden Chatfield
    February 3, 2007

    Who knew that mediocre cartoonists engendered such doglike cultish loyalty?

  293. #295 George Cauldron
    February 3, 2007

    Steve, PZ:

    You have each been pronounced ‘idiots’ by someone who is apparently an ‘IT intern’.

    Cringe in abject shame. Your lives are over.

  294. #296 Kristine
    February 3, 2007

    Has Scott Adams even read Moby Dick? Would he consider the author of that literary classic to also be the author of Vanna White’s biography? And all those romance novels, too? Well, I guess even the Big Bang has to make a buck.

    I sure wish the cosmos would hurry up and write my paper for class so that I can be lazy this weekend.

  295. #297 Ed Darrell
    February 3, 2007

    So, is it any wonder that people like me, members of the general public, are unaware of these findings? Now, is my “ignorance” abysmal or simply a product of inaccessible information (inaccessible in the sense that it is dry and “…often buried in incredibly dense and tedious “skull & bones” papers utterly inaccessible to the general public.”

    You don’t subscribe to newspapers? You have no television? You don’t even read the magazines in the physician’s waiting room? Do you never get a haircut and at least pick up a copy of Field & Stream?

    I agree with P.Z. — your ignorance is abysmal. Not uncorrectable, but if you missed all the news over the past 50 years, it suggests there may be an organic reason for it other than failure by every publication on Earth.

    When Donald Johanson and his team discovered the fossilized skeleton of Lucy in the far African wilderness, they had a phonograph that played the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Where do you live that you don’t even have that?

  296. #298 Mikey Benny
    February 3, 2007

    Dear Mr. Author,

    As someone who is an evolutionist, I implore you to please stop being so blasted arrogant. Do you realize that the way you speak makes people automatically consider the merits of the opposing viewpoint? For a moment while reading this column, I actually found myself wishing I were a creationist so I wouldn’t be on the side of such an insufferable elitist. Being right is not enough; if you are writing to an audience, you must show at least a bit of humility, and not pretend to be so high and mighty above those you deem to be wrong in their views and causes.

  297. #299 Igor Clark
    February 3, 2007

    Hello, PZ. You wrote:

    If any of his defenders want to claim that “hey, he’s just being funny!” that’s fine, as long as you’re willing to admit that his chosen style of humor is to pretend to be a colossal boob…and that he’s suckered many of his readers into thinking that his intentionally absurd ideas are brilliant.

    I’m not one of “his defenders”, as I don’t think he particularly needs any, but I do think that your comments merit a measured response. I hope you don’t mind.
    Yes, that does seem to be his chosen style of humour. Yes, I – and, it seems, many others – personally do find that funny. No, it seems, you don’t. No, he hasn’t suckered anyone into anything; he’s simply thrown something into the pot, and his readers have interpreted it as they’ve seen fit.
    I realise it’s only my opinion, but it seems to me that people taking this

    I take the practical approach – that something is intelligent if it unambiguously performs tasks that require intelligence. Writing Moby Dick required intelligence. The Big Bang wrote Moby Dick. Therefore, the Big Bang is intelligent, and you and I are created by that same intelligence. Therefore, we are created by an intelligent entity.
    I don’t see how an atheist can think otherwise.

    seriously, and thus as worthy either of blind acceptance or rigorous dissection, rather than enjoying a quiet smile and moving lightly on, might want to have a bit of a think.
    That aside, the fact that there certainly are people ‘out there’ who will misconstrue comments or statements does not mean that nothing should be said, and the fact that some people don’t get a joke doesn’t mean that those who do get it should be stopped from enjoying it.
    Finally – and this is not really related to whether Dilbert’s author chooses to have some fun with words and thoughts in a blog category entitled “General nonsense”, but certainly seems related to the substance of your post – an important mark of a civilised and intelligent society is that it not only tolerates but in fact positively encourages and fosters open discussion and debate.
    The mark of a genuinely rational intellect is that it responds calmly and logically to those arguments which are irrational. It doesn’t simply assert that those things must never be said; even if the intelligentsia recognises that a view or argument is invalid, simply taking that as a justification for suppressing it is intellectual technocracy, and censorship or filtration of what the seething masses should or should not be exposed to on the basis of the opinion of a small group is an important step on the road to fascism.
    It’s not the job of scientists or intellectuals to dictate people’s beliefs; it’s rather to educate and inform society at large, and to contribute over time to the collective effort to bring the whole of society up to the level of our species’ collective best guesses; not to suppress those who aren’t there yet.
    The democratic and human intellect doesn’t just reject; it refutes, and continues, calmly and kindly, so to do.

  298. #300 Steve_C
    February 3, 2007

    The concern is overpowering.

  299. #301 PZ Myers
    February 3, 2007

    Yes, I’m feeling terribly regretful that I spent all that money and time on a plane ticket and a shotgun so I could visit Scott Adams’ house and shoot his dog, instead of just doing something like writing a blog post.

    Wait. What? I didn’t?

    Damme. What are these kooks complaining about? That someone publicly and forcefully disagreed with their hero in words? I guess they feel a need to complain about that.

  300. #302 Aengil
    February 3, 2007

    Gosh yes, PZ. All these people coming to your house and shooting your dog, it’s… wait, what, they’re not? They’re just commenting on your blog and disagreeing you with words? Madness!

  301. #303 Keith Douglas
    February 3, 2007

    Cyde Weys: S. A. wrote a philosophy book?? Oy. I like Dilbert, but it is getting stale, so I don’t know what to think about the book …

    Zeno: I knew I should have left well enough alone. Trying to view your link crashed Safari.

    Blake Stacey: You’re correct. Godwin’s Law is normative, not descriptive.

    Steve Sutton: It doesn’t look like satire to me – what is it satirizing?

    Chris Gruber: The philosopher Mario Bunge has written about that a while ago in a piece called “Absolute Skepticism Equals Dogmatism”, though in his case it was in the context of pseudoscience specifically. A healthy mind is a critical mind – not one empty so that any crap can flow in, but one with structure.

    [now at post 350] I notice that the dilbonians can’t seem to agree on what Adams was doing. That’s suggestive in itself.

  302. #304 Igor Clark
    February 3, 2007

    Gosh, you guys sure are clever. I guess I’ll know better than to presume to try to engage with people of your stature in future, eh.

  303. #305 Steve_C
    February 3, 2007

    So we need to engage the subject seriously even though you think it merits less than a moment of acknowledgment?

  304. #306 Igor Clark
    February 3, 2007

    Steve_C said:

    So we need to engage the subject seriously even though you think it merits less than a moment of acknowledgment?

    Dearie me, no; I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood me. I didn’t say that, and I didn’t mean that. I meant simply that although I tried politely to engage with PZ on the issues brought to my mind by his post independent of the Dilbert business, namely issues of censorship and rationality, he apparently chose to sneer rather than to consider and respond, and you chose to dive in and have a good old sneer as well. Seems I was being rather na´ve. Shame.
    No doubt you’ll also dismiss this response with your “concern” business – on reading some of your other comments, it seems that it’s a favourite of yours – but hey, I’m sure you know best about my intentions. Whatever the case, “concern troll” is a new one on me, and you live and learn, so thanks for that!
    Anyway, I don’t think this is going to go anywhere very useful, do you?
    I think I’ll leave you to it. Wish you both well.

  305. #307 Carlie
    February 3, 2007

    Holy cow, almost 500 comments??? I don’t remember any other post that’s gotten so much attention. I don’t have a dog in this fight, except for this that I noticed whilst skimming amazedly through the lot:

    PZ it seems that you and the people who read this blog take yourselves waaaaaay to seriously. [...]
    I find it interesting the way we each choose to make sense out of life as we know it. The way our brains have to make sense and order what they see, feel, hear, smell, touch, or perceive to be real.

    What you have to remember is that for many of us, this is our livelihood. It’s our job, it’s our passion, it’s what we find to be one of the most intellectually exhilarating things on the planet. How should we feel when someone wanders up out of nowhere and spits on it all? I sometimes try to use the analogy “What if I came up to you at your job and declared that you don’t have any idea what you’re doing, I don’t believe in anything you do, and I’m going to force you to do it my way, which is better, even though I have no training in it?” That doesn’t always work, because it turns out that most people seem to hate their jobs. Pity for them. For the rest of us, it does get a bit annoying for someone to declare that despite my spending a couple of decades in training and research on the subject, their desire to feel something more fuzzy and snuggly that “makes sense” to them trumps that.

  306. #308 Stogoe
    February 3, 2007

    Carlie, I’d bet that the first volley of Ed Brayton’s War On Positive Atheism got about this long. Of course, that was more interesting than this steampile.

  307. #309 anon still
    February 3, 2007

    Carlie you might care to ponder whether most of us aren’t likely to be spending our whole lives doing things which will be viewed by more rational creatures in the future as having been more or less but at least partly deluded. Please don’t kid yourself too much about the nobility of the way in which you spend your days, noting that even the lowliest of religious hucksters can take enormous pride in the importance, as they see it, of their calling.

    Now this will sound a bit snarky but it’s an honest gut response to your latest fusillade PZ … erm “forceful” perhaps doesn’t quite characterize the way in which many of us have been experiencing your efforts in this post. “Uncomprehending”, “prissy”, “humorless”, “pretentious” would go closer and this although I’ve not even the slightest bit of interest in trying to offend you because I imagine you do mostly very good work here. For instance I’m backing your dog in the brawl with any proselytizing religious book thumpers. It seems to me though a kindness really that so many reasonable people have taken the time to point out to you that you’ve bitten off a little more than you’ve been able to chew in this particular posting. All the best!

  308. #310 Ichthyic
    February 3, 2007

    Please don’t kid yourself too much about the nobility of the way in which you spend your days, noting that even the lowliest of religious hucksters can take enormous pride in the importance, as they see it, of their calling.

    go figure, they do; or hadn’t you been following the ridiculous reaction from the religiosos over Dawkins?

    THE most common thing said by them (paraphrasing) is that Dawkins, being a biologist, doesn’t have the background necessary to make grandiose criticisms of religion.

    go figure.

    now, if those making the criticisms of dawkins had as much education and background in their claimed subject as a typical PhD in biology did, then they might have a point.

    they don’t, and neither do you.

  309. #311 Carlie
    February 3, 2007

    What Ichthyic said, and I never said my calling was noble or even important, just that I’m tired of people saying that I have no idea what I’m talking about when their most substantial exposure to the subject has been reading a Ken Ham pamphlet.

  310. #312 Sonja
    February 3, 2007

    By the way people, New Age with capitols refers to a reasonably well defined set of beliefs, not just to anything at all that wasn’t talked about ten years ago. Scott Adams does not in any way espouse those beliefs, or even mention them.

    —————

    From Wikipedia:
    New Age Beliefs
    Those who categorize themselves as New Age followers have multifarious beliefs; nevertheless, certain themes emerge. An individual who identifies with the New Age may subscribe to some or all of these, depending on their own sense of what is right and wrong.

    Science and spirituality are ultimately harmonious. New discoveries in science, e.g. evolution and quantum mechanics, when rightly understood, point to spiritual principles.

    New Age Language
    Many adherents of belief systems characterised as New Age rely heavily on the use of metaphors to describe experiences deemed to be beyond the empirical. … In particular, the adoption of terms from the language of science such as “energy”, “energy fields”, and various terms borrowed from quantum physics and psychology but not then applied to any of their subject matter, have served to confuse the dialog between science and spirituality, leading to derisive labels such as pseudoscience and psychobabble.
    —————

    I don’t know what your (posting as Newton) definition of New Age is, but from what most people understand, Scott Adam’s endorsement of The Conscious Universe and affirmations and folding quantum mechanics into his philosopy fits well into this definition.

  311. #313 anon
    February 3, 2007

    Love of learning is a wondrous thing Carlie and Ichthyic, all the best to you too of course.

  312. #314 Dilbert Comic Lover
    February 3, 2007

    First, notice the word Comic Lover, not Scott Adam lover. Dilbert is great if you work in a corporate world, he understands it the way that only a warpped dogbert can. Some things he say makes strange sense. However, the truth is part of Dilbert’s demographics are people who is often brilliant, smart and with strong wits, who are at the same time socially challenged (That is what Dilbert is casted, a good, bright, generally positive engineer in a machine called company). Sometimes these kind of intellegence carries a strange sense of view of the world as well, doesnt mean it’s wrong (Being dodgy like Catbert/Boss doesnt help of course, Scott).

    If you are interested to debate his points from the point of science and self-fashioned first knight of darwinian, keep at it. Scott likely going to have more of his thoughts of Scottian. He will never evolve out of that view. It’s like politics.

    To be honest? Truth evolves, at this stage as someone who has an average ability to understand the world, I believe in Darwinism and I dont speculate whether who created Big Bang since it is a theory that we are still trying to proof. What we do need to do however is to seperate ID from region. If Scott in something, it’s better he said it straight like fire does burn and mike is your uncle.

    You two are writing your own blogs, if it is of the oppositing view of the same topic, great. It sounds more like it’s a spat between 2 highly intellgent man which if they met, I doubt they will fight, but instead will bore the other guy out with words and intellectual might.

    Bottomline, either move on (1 of you) or keep at it, I will enjoy the debate.

    Ta.

  313. #315 Morf
    February 3, 2007

    Hello,

    I have a fairly simple set of guidelines I Ginned up back in the day;

    Given a dataset, reduce and graph it.
    Given a dataset of spoken words, use the principles of discreet mathematics, graph theory, symbolic logic and construct a proof.
    Present the proof for pier review.
    Once pier review is complete, publish the result to the Community.
    Give the Community time to digest the result.
    Accept the result and move on.

    If someone in a leadership position protests regardless of the proof, then it’s time to question motives.

    All that being said, relax, you’ll live longer…

    PS: Spelling doesn’t count

  314. #316 Ichthyic
    February 4, 2007

    good thing spelling doesn’t count.

    I was wondering if a pier review was when you get a dock inspected.

  315. #317 Stuart
    February 4, 2007

    I don’t agree 100% with Scott Adams theories, (I wouldn’t say I agree with even 20% of them) but for damn sure I don’t take things out of perspective like you. Get off your ivory tower and stop being so self righteous and smug. Creationism? Seriously, what relevance does it have to every day life? You’re the kind of moron that gives nerds a bad name. But then again, with a heading like “random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”, you do make a point of telling everyone you are a complete wanker!

  316. #318 Stuart
    February 4, 2007

    PZ, YOU are a babbling idiot. And arrogant to boot. After reading more of your comments, I cannot believe how smug and righteous you are… Never before has the word fuckwit been used with such relevance.

  317. #319 George Cauldron
    February 4, 2007

    PZ, YOU are a babbling idiot. And arrogant to boot. After reading more of your comments, I cannot believe how smug and righteous you are… Never before has the word fuckwit been used with such relevance.

    There, there. There, there. Just go away, settle down, and go back to reading your Dilbert cartoons, and the big bad mean professor won’t bother you any more. The grownups are trying to have a conversation, now.

  318. #320 Steve_C
    February 4, 2007

    It’s very amusing that people are coming from a cartoonist’s blog to scream stupidity at a scientist.

    Did you know biology has nothing to do with everyday life? Oh I mean creationism.

    Another tool comes and goes.

  319. #321 RK
    February 4, 2007

    “I take the practical approach — that something is intelligent if it unambiguously performs tasks that require intelligence. Writing Moby Dick required intelligence. The Big Bang wrote Moby Dick. Therefore, the Big Bang is intelligent, and you and I are created by that same intelligence. Therefore, we are created by an intelligent entity.”

    PZ, I think you missed the point Scott was trying to make in his article. He’s not actually saying that the Big Bang is some sort of intelligent being (in the sense of god), he’s saying that if something produces intelligence (The Big Bang resulted in the creation of the universe, and therefore people and the world), then it should be defined as intelligent. His problem is that he is a poor explainer, convoluting his point by referring to the Big Bang as an “intelligent entity”, without explaining what he thinks the term entails.

  320. #322 Steve_C
    February 4, 2007

    We get it.

    But you can replace intelligent with almost any word you can apply to the human condition and apply it to the big bang too. It’s stupid.

    Is the big bang conscious? Evil? Altruistic? Warlike?

  321. #323 Mark
    February 5, 2007

    What is so dumb about presenting theories? PZ, you seem to be a sad person who instead of presenting your own ideas, or trying to make people think, has to attack others. No matter how illogical and stupid you think his ideas are, nothing gives you the right to attack him in such a personal manner. He doesn’t force you to read his ideas and he doesn’t attack your ideas and fans.

  322. #324 Barry Ryder
    February 5, 2007

    One would have more faith in old Scott if he didn’t censor replies to his blogs so heavily.

  323. #325 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    PZ: I’ve been puzzled by something ever since I learned that Darwinian evolutionists think that Mind or intelligence is a by-product of evolution rather than the source of all life. Let me see if I can put this simply: According to Darwinists, the only forces active in the universe are chance and necessity, otherwise known as random mutation and natural selection. This applies to both biological and non-biological evolution. These forces are supposed to be blind and purposeless. If this is true, then intelligence itself–the very same intelligence used to create Darwinian theory (or recognize Darwinian law in action, however you want to put it) is also a product of chance and necessity. I would even go one step further to say that intelligence must function according to chance and necessity–biological determinism–because, according to Darwinists, there are no other forces at work in the universe. Would you agree with this assessment? And if so, how then can we trust any conclusions that we arrive at using our intelligence–including Darwinian theory? After all, intelligence itself must just be another example of the blind and purposeless forces of chance and necessity in action. Or do you think intelligence is something else? And if so, does that mean intelligence is “super-natural” in that it operates above and beyond chance and necessity? Just curious.

  324. #326 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    And if so, how then can we trust any conclusions that we arrive at using our intelligence–including Darwinian theory?

    Think about it a little. Suppose the mental equipment of our ancestors, constructed by a long process of darwinian evolution, had been such as to fail to give them any reliable information from the physical world. In that case how do you suppose they could have found food, and avoided being food, successfully enough for us, their descendants, to exist?

    This kind of argument is actually quite well known to philosophers- try Googling “Darwinian epistemology” (sometimes known as “evolutionary epistemology”).

  325. #327 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Thanks, I’ll check out the link you mentioned. But in the meantime, you still haven’t answered my question: According to Darwinian logic, is there any way to escape the fact that intelligence is nothing but a blind, purposeless process? And if it is not blind and purposeless, how do you explain it? If intelligence is able to rise above the forces of chance and necessity, doesn’t that make it “super-natural,” as in “above nature”? If so, that would make intelligence the sole (known) exception to Darwinian forces in the universe. (I’m not trying to invoke a deity here just trying to follow the logic.)

  326. #328 Carlie
    February 5, 2007

    How can you say that necessity is purposeless? I would say that “don’t be eaten or otherwise die before you can reproduce” is just about the opposite of purposelessness.

  327. #329 Jim
    February 5, 2007

    Scott Adams is an atheist. How can he also be a Creationist??

  328. #330 Steve
    February 5, 2007

    We can prove you wrong. We have proven you wrong. We show you insect studies, we show you why the catepillar is a stage of development and you stick your fingers in your ears.

    Posted by: Uber | February 2, 2007 03:27 PM

    Sigh…yes..I know you can show me why a caterpillar is a stage in the development of a butterfly. I am asking what were the evolutionary forces that caused such a life-cycle. If everything evolved for a reason – for reasons of adaptation to environment, for instance – WHY did a butterfly evolve in the first place? Do you know for certain? CAN you know for certain? Or is everything simply a “plausible” explanation? Could there have been caterpillars that never developed into a butterfly or moth at all? That simply lived and died as what we would call “caterpillars”?

    I don’t disbelieve “evolution”…I do, however, disbelieve the certainty displayed by its proponents.

    Yes, there are transitional links between species. The more I read about it, the more it is obvious…however, you cannot extrapolate what you know of one species and use it to explain others without the same kind of empirical evidence.

    You may be right in all of your beliefs, but until you can be 100% certain, with empirical evidence, you can never know. So, arguing from a position of absolute certainty on ALL issues of evolutionary theory is…as I have mentioned before…based on faith.

    And as we have seen recently with religions, and on this forum, people cannot stand when their beliefs are questioned.

  329. #331 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    If necessity is another word for “natural selection,” it has to be purposeless. Any good evolutionist knows that. Pure Darwinian evolution does not allow for any foresight in the forces of nature.

    I took a gander on Google and came up with some interesting insights on Darwinian epistemology. Here’s one quote from Nancy Pearcey (and don’t damn the logic due to the source): “If humans are products of Darwinian natural selection, that obviously includes the human brain–which in turn means all our beliefs and values are products of evolutionary forces: Ideas arise in the human brain by chance, just like Darwin’s chance variations in nature; and the ones that stick around to become firm beliefs and convictions are those that give an advantage in the struggle for survival. This view of knowledge came to be called pragmatism (truth is what works) or instrumentalism (ideas are merely tools for survival).”

    The above seems to be the argument you’re making. However, if you probe a little further into this logic, you arrive at my original question: If all ideas are products of evolution (blind chance and necessity) and thus not really true but only useful for survival (pragmatic), then evolution itself is not true either but merely a strategy for coping with our environment. Therefore, why are Darwinists so bent on investing it with any sense of ultimate truth?

    Here’s another quote from Pearcey that summarizes my thoughts nicely: “If evolution is true, then it is not true, but only useful. This kind of internal contradiction is fatal, for a theory that asserts something and denies it at the same time is simply nonsense. In short, naturalistic evolution is self-refuting.”

    Can you see a way out of this conundrum?

  330. #332 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    According to Darwinian logic, is there any way to escape the fact that intelligence is nothing but a blind, purposeless process?

    This is nothing more than empty wordplay. The “necessity” part of “chance and necessity” is, precisely, natural selection- selection of organisms better adapted than others in the population to thrive in their environment. That’s quite sufficient “purpose” to make sense of evolutionary history. You’re clearly bothered by the lack of some ultimate teleology but that’s your problem, not nature’s. (Our minds, ironically, may wired to detect “purpose” where none exists because a purpose-detection module is very valuable for dealing with other people and other animals.)

    There is no “conundrum”, only self-inflicted blindness on the part of people who refuse to understand.

  331. #333 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    What does truth have to do with evolution?

    Try if evolution is fact… rather than true. The human mind is a result of evolution.

    Human ideas are the result of complex interactions of memories, biology, genetics and education.

    Evolution does not equal ideas.

    Logical fallacies do not disprove evolution.

  332. #334 guthrie
    February 5, 2007

    “Therefore, why are Darwinists so bent on investing it with any sense of ultimate truth?”

    Who are these Darwinists you prate on about?

    Secondly, evolutionary biology is the best scientific explanation for the origin of species etc. What has truth got to do with it?

  333. #335 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Let’s set the emotions and personal insults aside for a moment, Steve, and stick to the issue at hand.

    Can you please address the pragmatism issue I raised above? In particular, I would like you to respond to this statement: “If all ideas are products of evolution (blind chance and necessity) and thus not really true but only useful for survival (pragmatic), then evolution itself is not true either but merely a strategy for coping with our environment. Therefore, why are Darwinists so bent on investing it with any sense of ultimate truth?”

    If you can’t respond to this (with an argument rather than assumptions about my inherent need for teleology), can you direct me to someone who can? I’m merely trying to follow Darwinian logic to its logical conclusions here. Are you willing to go there with me? If I’m wrong, I want to know it, not be insulted for my curiosity. I think the very fact that I’m posting here is evidence that I am not suffering from self-inflicted blindness or an unwillingness to understand. Asking questions is usually a sign of an individual’s willingness to learn.

  334. #336 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    I seem to have struck a nerve here. Steve C., the evolutionists I “prate on about” are none other than the theory’s most strident defenders–Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennet.

    That said, I’m very puzzled by the rest of your response. I’ve responded to each statement in turn:

    1. “What does truth have to do with evolution?” I think we’re in a semantic minefield here. But by “truth” I mean the ultimate substance of reality. Can the theory of evolution help us get at that? It claims to do so, but I’ve shown above how if Darwinian theory is “true,” then the truth can never be known. So to answer your question, truth has everything to do with evolution–or nothing to do with it if Darwinian theory is correct.

    2. “Try if evolution is fact… rather than true. The human mind is a result of evolution.” Can you please explain? I think you’re trying to distinguish between the words “truth” and “fact” here, but I get the sense you’re splitting hairs.

    3. “Human ideas are the result of complex interactions of memories, biology, genetics and education.” Are you saying human ideas are determined by these interactions or are they merely processed via these interactions? Either way, what is your point here?

    4. “Evolution does not equal ideas.” Agreed. But it does start with an idea, and if that idea is illogical, so goes the rest of the show.

    5. “Logical fallacies do not disprove evolution.” I’m sorry, but your logic is very weak here. If evolution can’t explain intelligence or rationality–the very tools used to make Darwinian arguments–then I think that logical fallacies do indeed disprove evolution. Try re-phrasing your argument and putting the word “God” in place of “evolution” and see if you still have confidence in your logic.

  335. #337 Steviepinhead
    February 5, 2007

    “Evolution” claims–I could put scare quotes around virtually every word in this sentence, but that would get tiresome–to “get at” (sorry…!) the ultimate substance of reality!

    What?!?

    Let’s back up one step here: please find for us the quote from any “evolutionist” where any such claim is made.

    If you can’t, all you’re airing out here is your own wet undies.

    While there might conceivably be some reason for us to pay some attention to your pet counter-theories of “ultimate” existence, those reasons haven’t so far made their appearance.

    Give us the quote supporting your “claim” that there is any such evolutionary claim, or give us the reasons why ideas must somehow precede the evolution of the creatures whose brains conceive them, or else totter on off please…

    Thanks ever so!

  336. #338 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    1. What are you blathering about? Evolution has nothing to do with truth, whatever definition you use. That’s like discussing weather and truth. What’s the point?

    2. We are here, are we not? This is the result of evolution. All of it including the brain.

    3. Ideas are not the result of any truth. And they are not caused by evolution. The brain is the organic vessel for which memories are stored and ideas are created. It is also shaped by genetics, environment and education. An individual’s survival depends on the viablity of that brain as well as the rest of its organs.

    4. Is gravity illogical? Just an idea?

    5. Your logical fallacy of entangling your “truth” with evolution and the devolopment of the human mind disproves nothing.

  337. #339 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    First question: How come there are so many Steves around here? Just a point of interest. Perhaps you can offer a Darwinian explanation for that.

    Second, Steviepinhead, I’m trying to have a reasoned discussion here, but so far all I’m encountering is bluster rather than actual reasoned responses to my questions. Is this how to you deal with everyone who doesn’t agree with you? If so, no wonder Darwinian theory is having such a difficult time gaining a foothold amongst the masses. It’s not because we’re stupid, ignorant, etc., it’s because every time we ask an honest question we get insulted.

    If I do totter off, Stevie, it will be to have a more enlightening discussion elsewhere, not because I’m put off by the sheer brilliance of you and your fellow Steves’ responses. So far I don’t see a single shred of sustainable logic, much less quotes to back up your point of view. So I find it profoundly disingenuous of you to demand that I provide quotes backing up assertions. Nevertheless, I will get get quotes for you, but for now I suggest you read “The Blind Watchmaker,” “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” and “The God Delusion.” They should render any effort to get quotes entirely superfluous. If these books aren’t enough evidence of Darwinian triumphalism, I don’t know what is. You have read these books, haven’t you “Steves”?

  338. #340 PZ Myers
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin Miller is making the same argument and the same mistake that Adams did: assuming that a property that arises from a combination of parts must also be present in each isolated part. Intelligence and behavior and learning and so forth are all excellent examples of properties that arise by the interplay of components—it makes as much sense to infer that intelligence is a property of an individual neuron as it does to say the bargain bin at Radio Shack is a radio.

    Steve keeps coming back to his metamorphosis conundrum. It is a valid problem in evolution, and there are some incomplete answers. Basically, though, a larval stage is a feeding stage (or sometimes a dispersal stage), and the adult form is reproductive. Organisms faced selection for two different processes: to eat and grow and gather the energy for reproduction, and to mate and reproduce. Some lineages have resolved the dueling selection pressures problem by partitioning it in two, with an early part of the life history dedicated to one function, and a later part dedicated to the other. When it is split temporally like that, evolution can work on each stage somewhat independently, shaping larvae to be eating machines and adults to be courting and breeding machines.

    One other part of the story is that part of the mechanism for optimizing the feeding strategy is to suppress sexual development, setting aside those tissues to wait until a certain healthy size has been reached, and then switching on the development of adult/sexual characters. We humans do that, too; animals that metamorphose, though, have carried it to an extreme.

  339. #341 Steviepinhead
    February 5, 2007

    Where did I claim to be brilliant? Run my screenname past your nimble eyeballs one more time…

    You are the one making the claims that are unanchored and floating in the air.

    Again, before your discussion can proceed anywhere, YOU need to establish that “evolution” makes anything like the cliams that YOU are making for it.

    Do it or don’t. I don’t care. But without having done so, you’re not going to come anywhere close to an “enlightening discussion.” So far, I can’t even tell whether I disagree with you, since you haven’t bothered to ground your claims in consensual reality.

    You’ll note I’m not the only one having this difficulty…

  340. #342 Blake Stacey
    February 5, 2007

    PZ:

    When it is split temporally like that, evolution can work on each stage somewhat independently, shaping larvae to be eating machines and adults to be courting and breeding machines.

    My childhood and adolescence make so much more sense now!

  341. #343 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    Steve was a popular name in the late 60′s and 70′s?
    We are all not the same Steve… trust me on that one.

  342. #344 PZ Myers
    February 5, 2007

    Oh, sure you’re not all the same. I’ve given all my zombie cyborg man-cephalopod hybrid minions the name “Steve”, I’ll have you know, and they vary only in their last names: Steve Gomez, Steve Ya-ya, Steve Smallberries, Steve Bigbooté…

  343. #345 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin, the books you list (all of which I have read) do not make the claims you say they do, and your questions have been answered repeatedly but you refuse to deal with the answers, choosing instead to keep going on about some sort of ultimate purpose behind it all (something for the existence of which there is no evidence, but only wishful thinking, which ia something we humans are only too good at.) Under the circumstances, it’s you who are simply refusing to engage in the very discussion whose lack you deplore. There’s nothing we can do about that unless you choose to engage us on a reality-based level. And it’s purely your loss (in potential understanding) if you won’t.

  344. #346 Steviepinhead
    February 5, 2007

    And, yes, I’ve read each of the books. I’m quite certain that Dawkins doesn’t set out to explain the origin of the cosmos in either of his outings. Dennett–who is one guy, not “Evolution”–extends a generalized version of the evolutionary process further, but again does not claim to get at the ultimate structure of reality.

    Pointing someone on an internet debate to three whole books without page references, quotes, etc., accomplishes essentially zero for your “enlightened discussion.” In case you’d actually care to understand why it is that you’re failing to have one…

  345. #347 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    PZ: I’m actually saying the exact opposite of what you’re asserting here. I’m not arguing that neurons are as intelligent as the brains they comprise. I’m saying that if the processes that created the brain are blind and purposeless, how could the brain be anything more than that? And, by extension, how could the thoughts produced by that brain be trustworthy? And how would we be able to make that determination? And so the regress begins…

    What I hear you saying is that just because our brains are produced by blind and purposeless forces does not mean that the thoughts produced by our brains are blind and purposeless as well. Somehow, the interaction of chance and necessity produces a third entity–intelligence–that is more than the sum of its blind and purposeless parts. But isn’t that like saying 2 + 2 = 5? How can the sum be more than its parts?

    Therefore, it’s all deterministic How can we have any confidence that are thoughts are giving us real information about the universe rather than mere approximations that ensure our survival?

  346. #348 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Steves: Both Dawkins and Dennett assuredly do set out to explain how the universe might have originated via Darwinian processes. And they’re far from the exception. I’d list more examples here, but seeing as you’re bent on holding me up to a standard of evidence you are unwilling to apply to yourself, I’m not going to bother. Your minds have very large “No Trespassing” signs on them, so I’m going to heed the warning and quit wasting my time.

    It’s too bad. I really wanted to try to engage you folks as an experiment, so see if anyone was sincerely interested in a reasoned discussion/debate on this topic. So far, my experiment has proven to be a colossal failure. So I will just have to assume that you have no answer to my questions other than raised hackles. Perhaps I’ll have better luck elsewhere.

  347. #349 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    I’m saying that if the processes that created the brain are blind and purposeless, how could the brain be anything more than that?

    You really can’t see how utterly logically fallacious this argument is,even after PZ carefully explained it to you? You need to respond to that explanation rather than continually reposting the same claim, if you genuinely desire to have a discussion.

    On your second question- of course our knowledge can only be an approximation of reality, but do you really find it difficult to tell the difference between a good approximation and a bad one? (Is it all the same whether a prey animal looks at a predator and perceives a predator rather than, say, a rock??) Our brains have evolved to be able to produce reasonably good approximations of reality (though with some serious biases that cultural institutions like science have themselves had to be developed to correct for.) If they hadn’t we wouldn’t be here.

  348. #350 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    Both Dawkins and Dennett assuredly do set out to explain how the universe might have originated via Darwinian processes.

    That has nothing to do with “ultimate” explanations of “purpose” or origin. My comment stands- you are grossly mischaracterizing what they wrote.

  349. #351 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Okay, can’t resist one more post, Steve. You say: “You need to respond to that explanation rather than continually reposting the same claim, if you genuinely desire to have a discussion.” Excuse me, Steve, but I just did respond to PZ’s so-called explanation. First, I pointed out how his explanation displayed a misunderstanding–in fact, a complete reversal–of my argument. Then I asked him how he could deny that his response essentially amounted to arguing that 2 + 2 = 5. Good enough for you?

  350. #352 PZ Myers
    February 5, 2007

    No, you are saying exactly the same thing. It’s just that your “parts” aren’t neurons, they’re “chance” and “necessity”. This is exactly the revelation of Darwin, echoed by Monod in that catchy phrase: the combination of chance and necessity brings about novelty. New things. New things like viruses and digestive enzymes and chlorophyll and intelligence.

  351. #353 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin, your fallacy is also equivalent to saying that living things are made entirely of molecules, so how can organisms have any properties that molecules on their own don’t have? You’re just not understanding this at all, at a very basic logical level. You really need to get that if you want to get anywhere.

  352. #354 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    I don’t think you would find Dawkins or Dennet claiming the Big Bang is an evolutionary process.

    Yes evolution is blind and purposeless… as is the universe. That is an idea that Dawkins and Dennet would agree with. It is cold and uncaring. Genes survive through natural selection, undesired traits fall by the wayside because they make an individual less survivable. Gee, a bigger brain evolving to deal with more complex problems and to develop language deosn’t at all sound like a desired trait. That brain in turn creating abstract ideas or paradoxes does not in turn mean that the process that created it is the same as the ideas it produces.

    Why do you wish to conflate this idea with some deep philisophical look inward?
    Navel gazing pushed to this extreme seems quite silly.

  353. #355 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Call me a hypocrite, but I’m responding again.

    PZ, you’ve still got it backwards. I’m not assuming that a property that arises from a combination of parts must also be present in each isolated part. I’m assuming the exact opposite: that the properties present in each isolated part must also be present in whatever arises from a combination of those parts, nothing more and nothing less. That means I’m also assuming that the whole can never be greater than the sum of its parts, that 2 + 2 must always equal 4. That’s true everywhere else I look in the universe. Why not in regard to intelligence? Somehow you’re slipping in a fifth digit here. Can anyone point me to a paper or book that explains how this happens? That would be a nice alternative to simply insulting my intelligence and then falling back onto Darwinist rhetoric.

  354. #356 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    That means I’m also assuming that the whole can never be greater than the sum of its parts, that 2 + 2 must always equal 4. That’s true everywhere else I look in the universe.

    No, this is flatly and disastrously wrong. A brain, for example, has all sorts of proerties that are not inherent in a disaggregated collection of neurons.

  355. #357 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    I don’t think we could explain it any clearer….

    You just continue to NOT get it.

    Evolution is not addition.

    Are stars conscious? We are all star stuff as Sagan put it. (roughly)

  356. #358 PZ Myers
    February 5, 2007

    So sperm + egg = diploid single cell, and can never be anything more?

    H2 + O2 = colorless gas, nothing more?

  357. #359 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    I’m afraid you guys are the ones who are getting it all wrong. You’re all talking about the parts’ relationship to the whole, but I’m talking about forces. Here’s another way of rephrasing my question: How can the laws of chance and necessity conspire to produce something that is no longer subject to chance and necessity? It’s a bit like asking how the laws of physics can conspire to create something that is no longer subject to the laws of physics. After all, that is essentially what I hear you saying in regard to intelligence. It is produced by chance and necessity, but it is no longer subject to chance and necessity. That’s what I mean by 2 + 2 equalling 5. To get back to my original question several posts back, if intelligence is no longer subject to the laws of chance and necessity, doesn’t that make it super-natural, above nature?

  358. #360 doctorgoo
    February 5, 2007

    Actually PZ, often times, H2 + O2 = BOOM!!! if an ignition source is close by.

  359. #361 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    You’re arguing that we are no longer susceptible to evolution’s cold indifference?

  360. #362 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    After all, that is essentially what I hear you saying in regard to intelligence.

    No, I’m afraid this is simply a defect in your “hearing”.
    And “subject to the laws of chance and necessity” is meaningless verbiage. It’s as though, to use PZ’s latest example, you were to ask “how can water no longer be subject to the law that mixing hydrogen and oxygen created and explosive mixture”?

  361. #363 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    “Where has it been demonstrated that intelligence is not subject to chance and necessity?”

    This is a good question, Blake, and exactly my point. If Darwinian theory is correct, I’m arguing that intelligence must be subject to chance and necessity and, therefore, completely untrustworthy for arriving at true knowledge. Therefore, there’s no way to know if Darwinian theory is correct or if it even exists, because the very faculty used to create it is now under suspicion–by the very faculty that is under suspicion, I might add… With a grin.

  362. #364 Blake Stacey
    February 5, 2007

    If Darwinian theory is correct, I’m arguing that intelligence must be subject to chance and necessity and, therefore, completely untrustworthy for arriving at true knowledge.

    . . . which is exactly where I fail to understand your argument. Having an accurate perception of the external world helps survival. Reacting properly to things which are going to kill you lets you have offspring. Mutations which increase the frequency of hallucinations or otherwise distort the ability to perceive reality get selected against.

  363. #365 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    This argument is only making sense to him.

    Because intelligence has been arrived at through evolution it’s untrustworthy?

    Because natural selection and random mutation are elements of evolution?

    Are you comepletely dense?

  364. #366 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Resolutions be damned. I’m wading back into the thick of this.

    Steve L.: You’re letting your emotions get in the way of your reasoning again. As I said before, you’re talking about the parts’ relationship to the whole. I’m talking about the forces that bring those parts together. So the question I’m asking is more like, how can gravity and the strong nuclear force bring hydrogen and oxygen molecules together in such a way that the result (water) is no longer subject to gravity and the strong nuclear force?

  365. #367 Kseniya
    February 5, 2007

    Actually, Kevin, I don’t anybody is “slipping in an extra digit.” I think you’re arguing that 2+2=2. You’re arguing agaist synergy.

  366. #368 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    “Having an accurate perception of the external world helps survival. Reacting properly to things which are going to kill you lets you have offspring. Mutations which increase the frequency of hallucinations or otherwise distort the ability to perceive reality get selected against.”

    I couldn’t agree more, Blake. (Except for the part about mutations that produce hallucinations. That’s assuming a particular gene can be linked to hallucinations, when it is more likely a combination of psycho-social factors.) What you’re essentially arguing for here is pragmatism. If evolutionary forces produced the mind, then all beliefs and convinctions–including Darwinian theory or religion–are nothing but mental survival strategies. We decide whether or not such beliefs are true depending on whether they have survival benefits. This says nothing about the ultimate truth of these beliefs. For example, belief in heavenly rewards for martyrs may offer survival advantage to a religious group because they are willing to fight to the death, but this does not make their belief in the heavenly rewards true. According to Darwinian theory, ideas are merely tools for meeting human goals. Thus, as I’ve said before, if Darwinian theory is true, then Darwinian theory is not ultimately true but only useful. Therefore, why are Darwinists going to the mat over it against those who disagree with them? Look, I’m not making up these rules, merely trying to follow them to their logical conclusions. Anyone care to join me?

  367. #369 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Kseniya: No, I’m arguing forces, they’re arguing the relationship of parts to the whole. Two entirely different things.

  368. #370 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    If evolutionary forces produced the mind, then all beliefs and convinctions–including Darwinian theory or religion–are nothing but mental survival strategies

    You’re halfway there. You’ll get the rest of the way when it dawns on you that our mental activity would be useless as a survival strategy unless it were able to produce at least some of the time reasonably accurate models of the world. Again, are you really prepared to argue that a gazelle that looks at a lion and perceives a lion has no survival advantage over a gazelle that looks at a lion and sees a tree?

    Nobody is arguing that EVERY figment the brain produces has a functional relationship to reality- that’s your very own straw man. After all, science is difficult, and it appeared very late indeed in human history.

    Oh- and there are no “forces” in nature called “chance and necessity”. You are making a very bad argument from an extremely defective analogy to the fundamental forces of physics. There is no paradox at all here, any more than there is in the observation that a brain can think but a pile of neurons can’t.

  369. #371 Jason
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin Miller,

    I think the problem is that you don’t seem to have any clear idea of what you mean by “truth.” What do you mean by the statement “Darwinian theory is true?” And what do you mean by “ultimately true?” What’s the difference between “truth” and “ultimate truth?” In what way, if any, do you think we can test a proposition to determine whether or not it is true (or “ultimately true”)?

  370. #372 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    “Are you really prepared to argue that a gazelle that looks at a lion and perceives a lion has no survival advantage over a gazelle that looks at a lion and sees a tree?”

    Of course I’m not arguing this, Steve. What I’m saying is that Darwinists, like most people, appear to assume that humans have “woken up” from the blind forces that determine the rest of nature, including the behavior of gazelles. Therefore I think that, despite themselves, they are arguing that intelligence itself is super-natural. Here’s an example: I’m sure you agree that you have a will, and that you can exercise that will in whatever way you deem fit. To me, that says that every time you exercise your will, you are doing what essentially amounts to a super-natural activity–an activity that is not determined by any sort of natural law (except the ones that hold the atoms of your being together).

    Contrary to what you say, according to Darwinian theory there are forces called chance and necessity in nature. They’re called random mutation and natural selection. Dawkins, Dennet, and others have gone so far as to call these forces laws. Therefore, I don’t think my analogy to the laws of physics is defective in the slightest. You and others here seem to think I’m being willfully ignorant on this issue (or just plain stupid), but that’s not the case at all. There is a huge paradox here, and I think you’re the ones who are unwilling to address it. Hence all the condescension and name-calling.

  371. #373 Steviepinhead
    February 5, 2007

    Jason, I was tempted to snark that you could have ended your first sentence right after the word “idea.”

    Kevin does have some clear philosphical ideas. He’s apparently still in the process of figuring out, though, that philosophy and science aren’t playing by the same rules.

  372. #374 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Jason: I defined truth a fair ways up the page (rather loosely I admit) to “in accord with the substance of reality.”

  373. #375 Jason
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin Miller,

    Contrary to what you say, according to Darwinian theory there are forces called chance and necessity in nature.

    Let’s say an outcome is “caused” or “determined” if it is an inevitable consequence of a prior condition, and “uncaused” or “random” if it is not. How are human beings capable of producing outcomes that are neither caused nor uncaused? What other possibility is there?

  374. #376 Steve_C
    February 5, 2007

    Regardless of your will, you are not in control of your genes. You are only in control of whether you pass on those genes and whether you live long enough to do that.

    If you have genetic traits that make you suicidal or reckless, you are less likely to pass those traits on. If you are incredibly smart and a prolific writer but horribly antisocial the same thing applies.

  375. #377 Jason
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin Miller,

    Jason: I defined truth a fair ways up the page (rather loosely I admit) to “in accord with the substance of reality.”

    Then if Darwinian theory is “in accord with the substance of reality” (that is, if Darwinian theory is an accurate representation of how the world actually works) how is it “not ultimately true but only useful?”

  376. #378 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    Jason: You’re missing my point. Darwinian theory only allows for two forces in the universe: chance and necessity. Both of these forces are blind and purposeless. The paradox occurs when Darwinists grant an exception for intelligence, which they say is neither blind nor purposeless. As we all agree, intelligence is both enlightened and purposeful. My question from the start has been, how did intelligence become the exception to the rule? How did it break free from Darwinian forces when everything else in the universe is subject to them?

  377. #379 Kseniya
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin,

    What I’m saying is that Darwinists, like most people, appear to assume that humans have “woken up” from the blind forces that determine the rest of nature, including the behavior of gazelles.

    Actually, I think you’re wrong about that, and this may be the crux of the whole disagreement. That suggests the old “beasts abstract not” myth, and how many naturalists believe that? Very few, I’d bet. I believe I get your point, but I can’t agree, because I don’t see the paradox. Intelligence is not super-natural. Intelligence is a continuum, not trophy cup that only one species holds, and it’s not a requirement for success.

    Either way, how does this lead you to suppose that if “Darwinian Theory” is correct, then it must be wrong? I think Stevie is right; the blend of science and philosophy just isn’t working here.

    And on a more personal note, this is beyond cute!

  378. #380 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2007

    You’re just word-chopping yourself around in circles at this point and I’m sorry, but you have been quite unable to clarify the nature of the “paradox” whose existence you keep claiming. By the way, did you know that the interplay of “chance and necessity” may play a major role in the functioning of the brain? Another thing to Google is Gerald Edelman’s theory of “neural Darwinism”. There are more things, including more consequences of “chance and necessity”, in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    By the way, there seems to be an undertone of concerns involving determinism vs. free will in some of what you’re saying, and on that subject I warmly recommend Dennett’s “Freedom Evolves”.

  379. #381 Kevin Miller
    February 5, 2007

    “I believe I get your point, but I can’t agree, because I don’t see the paradox. Intelligence is not super-natural. Intelligence is a continuum, not trophy cup that only one species holds…”

    Kseniya, now I think we’re finally getting somewhere. Defining terms is always helpful. (So is commenting on a picture of my son. You hit a sweet spot.) So you see intelligence as a continuum, not a switch that gets flicked on at a certain point. That’s interesting. To take the conversation a step further, I guess we’d have to get into a discussion about self-consciousness as opposed to mere consciousness, because I would say that’s the point at which there is a break in the continuum. But I just started Pinker’s “How the Mind Works,” and I haven’t read the Dennet article Steve L. recommended, so I’ll do a bit more research in this area before resuming this discussion.

    It’s been fun, but I’m tired.

  380. #382 Jason
    February 5, 2007

    Kevin Miller,

    Darwinian theory only allows for two forces in the universe: chance and necessity. Both of these forces are blind and purposeless. The paradox occurs when Darwinists grant an exception for intelligence, which they say is neither blind nor purposeless. As we all agree, intelligence is both enlightened and purposeful. My question from the start has been, how did intelligence become the exception to the rule? How did it break free from Darwinian forces when everything else in the universe is subject to them?

    It’s hard to know what any of this is supposed to mean because you don’t define your terms. I assume that by “chance” you mean a process or force that produces the type of outcome I defined above as “uncaused” or “random.” And that by “necessity” you mean a process or force that produces the type of outcome I defined above as “caused” or “determined.” And that by “breaking free” of “chance and necessity” you mean the ability to produce an outcome that is the product of neither “chance” nor “necessity.” If this is not what you mean, define the terms “chance” and “necessity” and “breaking free” as you are using them.

    Again, how can an outcome be neither caused nor uncaused, neither determined nor random? What other possibility is there? How does this imagined third kind of outcome that you are alluding to (an outcome produced by “breaking free” of “chance and necessity”) differ from both a random outcome and a determined one?

    If there is no such third kind of outcome, why are “intelligence” and “purpose” somehow incompatible with “chance and necessity?”

  381. #383 Graculus
    February 5, 2007

    How are human beings capable of producing outcomes that are neither caused nor uncaused? What other possibility is there?

    Because you propose a dichotomy. Many things are not “either/or” but “both”.

    And intelligence *is* blind and purposeless. The agent that posesses intelligence may not be so, however.

  382. #384 Jason
    February 5, 2007

    Graculus,

    Because you propose a dichotomy. Many things are not “either/or” but “both”.

    They cannot be both because the categories are mutually exclusive.

  383. #385 windy
    February 5, 2007

    There is a huge paradox here, and I think you’re the ones who are unwilling to address it.

    The problem is that you are taking paradoxes or seeming paradoxes that apply to *all of existence*, and assume that they are problems for “Darwinism” alone.

    If our mental faculties are unreliable because they have evolved, then *all* our conclusions are unreliable. If evolved brains falsify evolution, then they also falsify gravity, our model of the solar system, medicine, and so on. I don’t think anyone who applied such extreme skepticism could function in the world at all.

    What I’m saying is that Darwinists, like most people, appear to assume that humans have “woken up” from the blind forces that determine the rest of nature, including the behavior of gazelles.

    Why wouldn’t gazelles be able to make choices? Presumably their brain makes some primitive decisions – run from the lion now, or stay and eat some more grass? The human brain has acquired a more general decision-making apparatus with something we call “free will” attached, but is it really that different from gazelles? Both species make decisions that are not perfect, but on average help survival.

  384. #386 Blake Stacey
    February 5, 2007

    What I’m saying is that Darwinists, like most people, appear to assume that humans have “woken up” from the blind forces that determine the rest of nature, including the behavior of gazelles.

    I’d argue that people who understand biology — let’s abandon that term “Darwinists” once and for all — are more able to see the animal parts of human nature. We know when the reptile brain is in control. If you grasp what science has revealed to us, you’re better able to question the idea that humans are quintessentially special, “ensouled” in some fashion which lifts us above the rest of nature.

    (Isn’t it nice now that the thread has settled down?)

  385. #387 Kseniya
    February 5, 2007

    Yes.

    let’s abandon that term “Darwinists” once and for all

    Yes, let’s. Can we lose “neodarwinist” too?

  386. #388 Mattias
    February 5, 2007

    Hahahaha, oh my God! Are you guys sure that PZ Myers is real person? It’s more likely that he’s Scott Adams alter ego just entertaining us. I find it very unlikely that someone, like PZ myers, that seems to at least partially have a functional brain, acts like his mental age is about 10% of his physical age.

    Hahaha, anyways, whoever you are PZ Myers, thanks for a good laugh! I just hope for your own sake that youre not being serious!

  387. #389 Anton Mates
    February 6, 2007

    Here’s an example: I’m sure you agree that you have a will, and that you can exercise that will in whatever way you deem fit. To me, that says that every time you exercise your will, you are doing what essentially amounts to a super-natural activity–an activity that is not determined by any sort of natural law (except the ones that hold the atoms of your being together).

    Say what? You can’t exercise your will in whatever way you deem fit. Can you will yourself to have a crippling fear of gophers, or to despise your closest family and friends? Can you will yourself to quickly eliminate a severe drug addiction, or cure your own brain damage or mental illness? Unless you’re Batman, no, you can’t.

    This has nothing to do with “Darwinism” or evolutionary theory in general; when you claim that the mind is somehow exempt from natural law, it’s psychology and neurology which refute you.

    Incidentally, the only definition of “free will” I’ve ever heard that makes any sense is, “the inability to precisely predict your own decisions.” You can’t beat natural law, but you can and do beat your own ability to self-simulate.

  388. #390 Anton Mates
    February 6, 2007

    Here’s an example: I’m sure you agree that you have a will, and that you can exercise that will in whatever way you deem fit. To me, that says that every time you exercise your will, you are doing what essentially amounts to a super-natural activity–an activity that is not determined by any sort of natural law (except the ones that hold the atoms of your being together).

    Say what? You can’t exercise your will in whatever way you deem fit. Can you will yourself to have a crippling fear of gophers, or to despise your closest family and friends? Can you will yourself to quickly eliminate a severe drug addiction, or cure your own brain damage or mental illness? Unless you’re Batman, no, you can’t.

    This has nothing to do with “Darwinism” or evolutionary theory in general; when you claim that the mind is somehow exempt from natural law, it’s psychology and neurology which refute you.

    Incidentally, the only definition of “free will” I’ve ever heard that makes any sense is, “the inability to precisely predict your own decisions.” You can’t beat natural law, but you can and do beat your own ability at self-simulation.

  389. #391 guthrie
    February 6, 2007

    Hhmm, I see its been busy. Unfortunately, there appears to be a mjor communications disconnection between us and Kevin. It’s as if he is speaking a different language.

    Kevin, your comment about evolution with regards to blind chance and necessity and the truth of evolution, make no sense. I lack the capabilities to understand what you are talking about.
    Why would something be useful for survival and yet not true? My breathing oxygen is useful for my survival, and also true.

    KEvin, it was also myself who talked about prating. I read some Dawkins a while ago, not read any Dennet. Last I checked, DEnnet was a philosopher of the mind, hence is at the bleeding edge of science and the gray area where it merges into philosophy. Therefore what he says about stuff needs to be considered carefully, and will not necessarily relate to the actual scientific consensus.

    As for “truth” and evolution- if Evolution is an accurate representation of the origin of species etc, then is it not “true”, as it is a model of “reality”?

    Your strange logic about pragmatism and truth makes no sense to me.

    Also, I was amused by your comment:
    “4. “Evolution does not equal ideas.” Agreed. But it does start with an idea, and if that idea is illogical, so goes the rest of the show.”

    But as a science, evolution starts with observation, and an idea, and testing of that idea. Logic has little to do with it. Quantum mechanics was not exactly logical, but it was forced upon scientists as the best explanation for the observations.

  390. #392 Blake Stacey
    February 6, 2007

    Quantum mechanics is logical, in that it can be approached on its own terms and studied with perfect clarity mathematically. One can say, however, that it is not reasonable, because it flaunts its disagreement with our intuitions. Probabilistic behaviors? Complex numbers? Entanglement? These are not the sort of traits which good objects display.

    Unfortunately, the fundamental constituents of the Universe have no concept of propriety.

  391. #393 Steviepinhead
    February 6, 2007

    Anton Mates:

    a crippling fear of gophers

    Actually, it’s the things one can’t will oneself to resist that fascinate me: you just know that little mini-hamster’s gonna nip your fingernail, but you’re compelled to waggle your finger in front of that mini-maw anyway…

  392. #394 guthrie
    February 6, 2007

    Ok, Blake has just put it better than I did.
    What we appear to have here with Kevin is that his logical starting point is somewhere different from ours.

  393. #395 Andrey
    February 6, 2007

    You seem to know the point, but not understand it… Adams isn’t serious, he’s playing with thought experiments. Just as he said in the beginning of his book. It’s just a bit of mental masturbatory fun, just playing with semantics, mostly. For those that understand it, it’s great, for those that don’t, too bad. :-)

  394. #396 Steve_C
    February 6, 2007

    A week later and they are stiil coming.

  395. #397 Blake Stacey
    February 6, 2007

    You seem to know the point, but not understand it… Adams isn’t serious, he’s playing with thought experiments. Just as he said in the beginning of his book. It’s just a bit of mental masturbatory fun, just playing with semantics, mostly.

    If he played with ideas in a way that made logical sense, everyone would probably have been a little less upset. Instead, he threw out a nonsensical argument which couldn’t possibly do what he claimed to be doing, and then stuck with it when people complained.

    These are the sort of antics which give semantics a bad name.

  396. #398 T-Rex
    February 6, 2007

    And you’re still here. Get over it, this blog belongs to everyone.

  397. #399 Steve_C
    February 6, 2007

    Excuse me?

  398. #400 T-Rex
    February 6, 2007

    You’re excused?

  399. #401 Rey Fox
    February 6, 2007

    I know you are, but what am I?

  400. #402 Jack
    February 6, 2007

    Wow, you guys take yourselves way too seriously. I’ve read the Dilbert blog a few times. While I may not agree with his views at least he exhibts some class and doesn’t personally insult other authors.
    This is a poor example of how to debate a topic, far below any acedemic standards.

  401. #403 truth machine
    February 6, 2007

    You seem to know the point, but not understand it… Adams isn’t serious, he’s playing with thought experiments. Just as he said in the beginning of his book. It’s just a bit of mental masturbatory fun, just playing with semantics, mostly. For those that understand it, it’s great, for those that don’t, too bad. :-)

    Hey, why don’t you explain it , then?

    The fact is that Adams tried to be clever here, and make a point about the human brain being a mechanism that isn’t really “intelligent”, but his rhetoric doesn’t work; it is based on a genetic fallacy, a la the notion that he who tends fat cows must be fat, or that water molecules must be wet. Adams isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, but at least he isn’t nearly as stupid as his fanclub who blather about him not being serious without having the faintest understanding of what he’s actually trying to say.

  402. #404 Rey Fox
    February 7, 2007

    “doesn’t personally insult other authors.”

    Yeah, that SHAAH thing? A term of endearment.

    Keep ‘em coming, chuckleheads!

  403. #405 cm
    February 7, 2007

    I can’t understand the hatred for Adams. You may not agree with what he says, or how he says it, but let’s not underestimate the power of people thinking about science who would otherwise normally never do so. What if the effect of people reading his blog entries is that it interests them to research more into the field? I can’t say that is too far fetched. And isn’t more researching minds the best way to progress in any field of science?

    So disagree with his beliefs all you want, but I would prefer that you would offer rebuttals to further a debate as opposed to just calling him an idiot. Do something productive, and post sources to his blog where people can find the latest scientific thoughts. Or just continue to call him an idiot and prove yourself to be just as worthless to the scientific community.

  404. #406 Steve LaBonne
    February 7, 2007

    So you can show up A WEEK LATER to bitch about one blogpost, but you can’t be bothered to actually read the comment thread and see that there has been a massive amount of very clear explanation of exactly where Adams went wrong in his “reasoning”? You’re a fine one to talk.

  405. #407 Trickypickle
    February 7, 2007

    Hahahaa! You people all sound like opposing English football club fans. “Oi mate, those silly creationist bastards ain’t gunna beat our boys, the wankers!”. Grow up. Get off your self appointed intellectual, whiny, preachy, snobby high horses. Stop waving your intelligence around like it’s a pissing contest, it’s redundant. Science isn’t exact, and few truths are absolute. You carry on about how stupid the religious or the engineers are for their faith and views, when you carry the same faith in science, often blindly. Adults listen, process and then agree, disagree or agree to disagree. Not spew vitriol. After all, science is all about being objective and open minded.

  406. #408 Steve_C
    February 7, 2007

    And calling bullshit when you see it.

    You can’t skip that part.

    The defenders need to unify their argument. There’s three divergent defenses.

    1. He was only joking. You don’t get it. You have no sense of humor. You’re mean.

    2. You’re an arrogant scientist with a closed mind. Adams’ meanderings are interesting.

    3. You’re the same as creationists and have blind faith in science because…

    We’ve addressed all these lame execuses for Adams saying something stupid.
    It’s just that most of his fans haven’t bothered to read the thread.

    Read the thread.

  407. #409 Jaala
    February 7, 2007

    XD….this is highly amusing.

  408. #410 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    I am in no way one of the “defenders of Scott Adams,” as I have no particular reason to defend him (he’s not my friend, for cryin’ out loud!). Still, I went back and read the original post of his that this one responded to, and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe “The whole ‘Scott was being sarcastic/joking/satirizing’” isn’t just a “Pee-Wee Herman ‘I meant to do that!’”, but actually true. I know there will probably be a few groans from the people who’ve been commenting on here for a while, and I realize this has been brought a number of times (I did go back and at least skim the threads thus far), but I think that it essentially the root of the dilemma here. It’s not that I think the PZ defenders are lacking humor, or take themselves too seriously. I do, however, think it is possible that they were taking Scott Adams a little too seriously, more than he would even want. But hey, I’m just a man.

  409. #411 Steve LaBonne
    February 7, 2007

    It may well be true; the point is, that’s not a good excuse. This is a topic on which, given the current obscurantist-friendly zeitgeist in the US, stupid pronouncements (whether humorously intended or not) are a genuine nuisance. And take note of the flagrantly creationist fellow-travelers who were attracted by Adams’s crap and showed up here to “defend” it. When you lie down with dogs…

  410. #412 Blake Stacey
    February 7, 2007

    Speaking on the humor front: PZ has been much funnier than Scott Adams overall: That’s one reason why I visit Pharyngula every day and only Dilbert.com once or twice a month or so to read all the strips for a couple light chuckles. PZ’s also educational when he’s funny.

    Yep.

    On the big LOL! front, today I got the hilarious mental image of him showing up at some conference dressed up as a raptor.

    Another yep.

    PZ’s got much more nerd/geek cred, too.

    Indubitably.

  411. #413 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    Steve LaBonne,
    From where I’m sitting, I see your characterization of Scott’s post as a bit circular. Essentially, you reason that his writing on the subject is a “geniune nuisance” because it is “stupid”. But what is it about the post that you find stupid in the first place? Is it that you believe he wrote what he did out of a genuine love for Jesus and hatred of science? If that were the case, I’d be right there with you, but I really don’t think it is. So your frustration with Scott and his post must stem elsewhere. I am willing to listen.

  412. #414 Steve LaBonne
    February 7, 2007

    No, it’s that he presents as though he’s serious (I’m not a mindreader, so I don’t pretend to know whether he actually means it, nor does it matter) some supremely muddled IDiot “reasoning”, thereby giving “celebrity” aid and comfort to the dimwits who really do hate evolutionary biology. Some of whom, I repeat, showed up on this comment thread and clearly did take his crap seriously. I’ll turn your question around- why do you think Adams should escape criticism for that?

  413. #415 Steve_C
    February 7, 2007

    Loser,

    It stems from his saying stupid shit, regardless of his motive.

    The intelligent universe argument, even if just semantic, is dubious.

    Especially at a time where the religious use almost the same argument to argue that “god did it”.

    And no I’m not the same Steve. He might have something entirely different to say.

  414. #416 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    This is for Steve_C. I’ll address Steve LaBonne’s comment in a second.

    “…the religious use almost the same argument to argue that ‘god did it’.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Scott was using an argument very similar to that which Creationists often do, and by doing so, he successfully revealed the rediculousness of their views, which they cling very seriousy to. In a sense, he is agreeing with you.

  415. #417 Steve LaBonne
    February 7, 2007

    I’m not Steve_C, but I have to say that’s about the most absurd piece of special pleading I’ve ever seen. If that’s what he meant to do, he could and should have come out and said so. He’s had ample opportunity.

  416. #418 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    Steve LaBonne,
    I don’t know if I can fully answer that question, but I will try to respond the best I can to the points you made.

    First, I would say in response to you’re statement that Scott’s post used “Idiot ‘reasoning’” by saying that I basically agree with you. For the purpose of reality, the idea of intelligence being applied to the big bang (for example) has no practical use. For me, the interesting part was not the end conclusion, which was just silly, but the argument that led to the conclusion. Sometimes listening to idiot reasoning helps me simply because it is a different perspective. I reiterate, though, that I am in full agreement that the reasoning is basically just silly.

    As for the “celebrity aid” he gives, it is tough to hold that against him. Of course the fact that he is a minor celebrity adds weight to whatever he says, but that is the fault of the people let it be so, not his.

    That brings me to your point that many Creationists take comfort in his words which provide support for their beliefs. This is where it gets tricky. I can’t deny that that is unfortunate, so I am forced to live with the fact that the joke is still on them. If those Creationists are so blinded that they can’t see this, than there is probably little that could be said to change their views anyway.

    So should Scott Adams escape criticism? I can’t really be sure. I do know that I have nothing critical to say.

  417. #419 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    Steve LaBonne;
    A Brief response to your comment:
    “If that’s what he meant to do, he could and should have come out and said so. He’s had ample opportunity.”

    I doubt very much if Scott cares enough to do so, and even if he did, it wouldn’t be his style. Take it or leave it. Still, I would rather hear your response to the comment I sent you. I’m at work, so yes, I do have all day.

  418. #420 Steve LaBonne
    February 7, 2007

    I do know that I have nothing critical to say.

    I have nothing further to say except, nobody asked you to be critical. You took the initiative to object to those who do think it’s appropriate to be critical, and I already explained at length why I think you were off base in doing so.

  419. #421 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    Steve LaBonne,
    It was with that last comment you made that you single handedly turned our discussion into an argument. I never wanted to arm-wrestle, only discuss ideas, and I was certainly never critical of your right to criticize. Everyone has that right; however, it’s a two way street. And you, my friend, are going against traffic.

  420. #422 Ichthyic
    February 7, 2007

    And you, my friend, are going against traffic.

    easy enough to do if you drive a tank.

    OTOH, have you considered that the flow of those you perceive around you might all be headed the wrong way?

    or did you feel the “strength in numbers” argument to be sufficient in and of itself?

    interesting. I gotta bridge I wanna show you.

    I gotta admit, Dilbert fans must outweigh Pharyngula fans by an order of magnitude, given how long this particular bit has maintained itself.

  421. #423 Loser of guitar picks
    February 7, 2007

    Ichthyic,
    My mistake for mixing metaphores. I did’t refer to Steve LaBonne’s “going against traffic” to mean that he is going against the masses, which I often support. Instead, I only meant that I felt Steve LB was clogging the road of discussion. It’s a crappy metaphore and I meant no confusion. That said, how do you weigh in, if at all, on the discussion we attempted?

    By the way, I ride a bicycle.

  422. #424 Steve
    February 8, 2007

    Steve keeps coming back to his metamorphosis conundrum. It is a valid problem in evolution, and there are some incomplete answers. Basically, though, a larval stage is a feeding stage (or sometimes a dispersal stage), and the adult form is reproductive. Organisms faced selection for two different processes: to eat and grow and gather the energy for reproduction, and to mate and reproduce. Some lineages have resolved the dueling selection pressures problem by partitioning it in two, with an early part of the life history dedicated to one function, and a later part dedicated to the other. When it is split temporally like that, evolution can work on each stage somewhat independently, shaping larvae to be eating machines and adults to be courting and breeding machines.

    Thank you for that response. And you are right, the whole metamorphosis issue is a “conundrum” to me. Perhaps it is my inability to see a large picture. What I mean is I find it hard to see how an organism can effectively evolve into something that splits its life into such disparate stages. I know you can use the life cycle of a frog (tadpole to frog stage) but I would say the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to butterfly to be substantially more strange.

    The eating vs mating stage makes sense, but you have to admit that that seems to be an amazing piece of evolution…so amazing as to appear…supernatural…if I may use that word in this context.

    I want to apologize for my earlier attacks…I have spent some time reading http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html and while exceedingly dry at times, has made for some interesting reading. Certainly eye-opening.

    I still reserve the right to poo-poo evolution as it pertains to butterflies though :)

  423. #425 Steve
    February 8, 2007

    As a follow up to my above post, as I mentioned, I have been reading through http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html and something caught my eye in Section 14: Conclusion

    In that section, the author summarizes some “Good and Bad models”. Model 3 is:

    Evolution with a “Tinkering God”

    Evolution by common descent, as above, with God occasionally altering the direction of evolution (e.g., causing sudden extinctions of certain groups, causing certain mutations to arise). The extent of the “tinkering” could vary from almost none to constant adjustments. However, a “constant tinkering” theory may run into the problem that vertebrate history on the whole does not show any obvious direction. For instance, mammal evolution does not seem to have led inescapably toward humans, and does not show any consistent discernable trend (except possibly toward increased body size). Many lineages do show some sort of trend over time, but those trends were usually linked to available ecological niches, not to an inherent “evolutionary path”, and the “trends” often reversed themselves when the environment or the competition changed.

    I like that one. Not so much the “God” aspect, but the thought that something external caused some changes in evolution. However, since there is no empirical evidence of that, I would end up simply arguing with myself about it :)

  424. #426 llewelly
    February 8, 2007

    The eating vs mating stage makes sense, but you have to admit that that seems to be an amazing piece of evolution…so amazing as to appear…supernatural…if I may use that word in this context.

    God has an inordinate fondness for metamorphosis?

  425. #427 Loser of guitar picks
    February 8, 2007

    “I like that one. Not so much the “God” aspect, but the thought that something external caused some changes in evolution. However, since there is no empirical evidence of that, I would end up simply arguing with myself about it :)”

    What do you mean by “something external?”

    From my understanding of evolution, which is far from perfect, external forces essentially dictate the direction in which species evolve. So if this is what you mean, I’m right with you.

  426. #428 Anthony
    February 9, 2007

    Look! It’s a gangbang! Let’s join in on the orgy!
    -the commenters of this page

    Instead of ever trying to understand the arguments, or dissect the arguments, or look at the historical background of the arguments, or even read the arguments, people here seem to think that they are above petty philosophy. Frankly, you do not have an answer to him. Is he right? We will certainly see, but you are completely unqualified to tell. Adams does not sport a one-sided view. Neither does he have a new philosophy. It reeks of enlightenment thought. And yet you act as if he is a mystic bent on creationism. Good job, you’ve successfully sung along with the choir.

  427. #429 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2007

    That said, how do you weigh in, if at all, on the discussion we attempted?

    frankly, I don’t see the point. I think this discussion has been given the death of many cuts.

    give it the last rites and move on.

  428. #430 Ronnie
    February 9, 2007

    Why do people who think that they are above everyone else, always react badly when someone comes up with an idea/insight/theory (whatever you want to call it) that they hadn’t thought of first. It’s just a shame some people are so full of themselves that they don’t take the time to listen to other people. And I’m not referring to Scott Adams. It’s pathetic.

  429. #431 guthrie
    February 9, 2007

    No Ronnie, the problem is that someone comes up with an idea that has already been thought of, and later dismissed due to it being stupid, and then people still take him and his ideas seriously. And I’m not reffering to PZ.

  430. #432 jre
    February 9, 2007

    Scott Adams seemed slightly piqued by my comparing him to Arthur Conan Doyle. I rarely cross-post, but (since Adams holds comments for moderation) I’ll take that liberty here.
    ______________________

    I have been an ardent fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories all my life — but that does not oblige me to share Arthur Conan Doyle’s belief in fairies. Similarly, I continue to enjoy Dilbert at the same time that I find everything Scott Adams has written on intelligent design to be silly (in an unfunny way) and — let’s face it — downright embarrassing.

    [Ever notice the lack of specifics? That's because the specifics that people object to are based on poor reading comprehension and not on any arguments I've made. -- Scott]

    ______________________

    [Ever notice the lack of specifics? That's because the specifics that people object to are based on poor reading comprehension and not on any arguments I've made. -- Scott]

    OK; fair enough. The specifically silly (and unfunny) stuff began, as I recall, on Nov. 12, 2005, when you wrote a lengthy commentary on “Darwinism” saying, among other things that

    “The Intelligent Design people allege that some experts within each narrow field are NOT convinced that the evidence within their specialty is a slam-dunk support of Darwin.

    [T]he scientists are in a weird peer pressure, herd mentality loop where they think that the other guy must have the “good stuff.”

    Is that possible? I have no way of knowing.”

    Hogwash. You did and still do have a straightforward way of knowing. Go out and learn something about the subject. You’ll find that the fields of paleobiology, genetics, embryology and all the other subspecialties comprising evolutionary biology are filled with researchers who see support for common descent in their respective fields, not each in someone else’s. That’s not a hard thing to find out. In fact, it takes a resolute determination to keep a dumb argument alive to not find it out. What you wrote was, and still is, dumb. And what you wrote here (that anything giving rise to intelligence must be, by definition, intelligent) is circular, boring, and, yes — dumb. It’s embarrassing, Scott. You are looking more and more like a comedian who doesn’t know when to leave the stage. We’re sorry for you, but we can’t help you if you won’t help yourself.

  431. #433 Tim Harwill
    February 12, 2007

    Thank you for portraying this pompous idiot with such unnerring accuracy! There are few things as dangerous as an ignorant fool with an audience, and we are fortunate that you have maintained the will to continue to expose the charlatan for what he is; an ignorant fool who lacks the capacity for basic honesty! Stick to the funny pages fool, and leave the science to the scientists! Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    TFP

  432. #434 bartkid
    February 14, 2007

    >>Because you propose a dichotomy. Many things are not “either/or” but “both”.
    >They cannot be both because the categories are mutually exclusive.

    Um, there is also “they are both false” and “false dichotomy to start with”.
    I’m jest sayin’.

  433. #435 bontecow
    February 24, 2007

    Sooo, it seems American “Scientists” take themselves very seriously. They are also quite rude and self righteous.

    You guys need to relax a little, chill out. Down here in Australia we know how to enjoy life and have fun, while also thinking about the important things. Come visit one day for a lesson if you wish. I’d be happy to show you around.

  434. #436 Ichthyic
    February 24, 2007

    Sooo, it seems American “Scientists” take themselves very seriously. They are also quite rude and self righteous.

    yeah, now only if they weren’t also right.

    shucks.

    this thread is STILL going???

    Down here in Australia we know how to enjoy life and have fun, while also thinking about the important things.

    read: Fosters.

  435. #437 gerbill
    March 19, 2007

    It bears repeating that Adams IS NOT AN ENGINEER.

    It keeps mistakenly coming up that he is one, when it is obvious to any professional engineer worth his or her salt that habitually thinking in the loopy, unrigorous way Adams does would likely mean the unsuccessful implementation of many principles, if not the swift end to a career in engineering. Engineers have to make things work. Reality and even the scientific method (yep, it belongs to all of us) do come into play. Scott’s tenuous grasp on at least one of these makes it rather insulting to most engineers that he should be mistaken for one.

    Great work, PZ. Stick with the comics, Scott. To each, his own.

  436. #438 Terry
    August 11, 2007

    Who cares what you think, really?

  437. #439 Huff
    March 9, 2008

    I just lost the ability to appriciate one of my formerly favorite comic strips.

  438. #440 Zeno
    March 9, 2008

    So why has this post attracted so much attention lately? I noticed because some of the traffic is bleeding over to my blog, following the link in #17 to a comment on Johnny Hart’s elusive humor.

    I wonder what’s up.

  439. #441 Robin Lionheart
    September 25, 2008

    This reminds me of the YouTube comments that a clip of Dilbert and Dogbert arguing evolution received (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19PfUIovUaU).

  440. #442 AssHat Patrol
    October 3, 2008

    Lol…. You Asshat.

  441. #443 Kel
    October 3, 2008

    read: Fosters.

    Did you know that Aussies don’t drink Fosters? It’s our export beer which we aren’t stupid enough to drink ourselves. In the 6 years I’ve been allowed to legally buy alcohol, I haven’t even seen a single can in any liquor store across several states.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster%27s_Lager#Australian_market

    Though apart from Coopers, the mainstream beers aren’t anything to sing home about.

  442. #444 Owlmirror
    October 3, 2008

    Though apart from Coopers, the mainstream beers aren’t anything to sing home about.

    Perhaps “sing” is not the best word to use in your argument…

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8885159090946272441

    (freaking huge!)

  443. #445 ccc
    April 28, 2009
  444. #446 Tibia
    April 28, 2009

    If you want invite to a party list, another thing that wasn’t gone into in great detail. If you and a friend are just starting the game and want to travel together, the first thing you will have to do is find one another. On the first time you load the game, it will be easy.

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