Pharyngula

An honest creationist, at last

From Cectic:

Quote of the week: “Either the theory is wrong, or I’m just incredibly stupid.” -Todd Friel on Evolution, from The Way of the Master Radio for 24 Dec. The first true utterance I’ve heard on that show since I started listening to the podcast.

Comments

  1. #1 Alex
    December 28, 2007

    A valid utterance from a Creationist who is talking about evolution? It’s a Christmas miracle!

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    December 28, 2007

    “Either the theory is wrong, or I’m just incredibly stupid.”

    To be fair, many of these people are so steeped in their cherished bit of nonsense that although they are not especially stupid (if generally not the brightest coins in the purse), they cannot see through the thicket of misinformation and dishonesty that they’ve accumulated.

    For instance, as pathetic as “common designer” is for all of the similarities of life which have nothing to do with design principles, it has been drummed into many of them for so long that they can’t begin to think in a way that would actually be open to a meaningful interpretation of the evidence.

    Friel may not be inherently stupid, then. Likely he is horribly stupefied by propaganda that admits of no true explanatory framework, but which rather forces them into apologetic thinking from the very start of their “investigations” of these matters.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  3. #3 Dan
    December 28, 2007

    I think I may just pass out. Was Mr. Friel drunk? On medication?

    I can’t understand the sudden candor. It’s terrifying. I mean, I’ve gotten too used to dealing with their dishonesty that something like this just causes the cogs to slip.

    Quick! Someone fetch a Dembski quote to set the universe right again.

  4. #4 mothra
    December 28, 2007

    As quoted, Todd’s statement is a false dichotomy. Todd Friel is stupid and evolutionary theory is correct.

  5. #5 Neil B.
    December 28, 2007

    I’m curious what a survey of creationists/IDers would come up with to the question, “Do you believe that all creatures (past the very first life) were born from other creatures, or do 9at least some) new species or groups just get “created” whole, like for example birds just popping up from dirt due to divine intervention?” They don’t get asked that often enough I think, usually allowed to just critique “Darwinism” without explaining just what their alternative really *consists of.*

    That would do a lot to distinguish literal creationism from those who question whether simplistic concepts of evolution are good enough to handle e.g. punctuated equilibrium, etc. (Please, someone give us a good response about PE here?) Also, so-called “cosmological ID” is about the idea that particular possible worlds can only be made real (in that earthy, funky, real-life sense that we mostly all know and love) because of some action/support of a more fundamental “necessary being” or etc. notion. Now, agree or not with that premise, almost all such thinkers about such anthropic questions (Davies, et al) accept (as do I) the first part of the above question as true. The two kinds of notion are quite different in their approach to “what happened” on earth, the CID concurring with ordinary science about all directly scientific questions, and only differing in the “philosophical interpretation” of what we already know or find here. I’m not saying you should agree with CID, but an honest thinker makes distinctions (just as a competent/honest liberal debtor doesn’t mix together conservatives and libertarians, etc.)

  6. #6 Neil B.
    December 28, 2007

    Heh, I’m sure you knew I meant “debator”, but typing fast and hitting that spellcheck key can be a mess (did you know, Firefox has it built in, for any typing?)

  7. #7 Norman Doering
    December 28, 2007

    Glen D wrote:

    To be fair, many of these people are so steeped in their cherished bit of nonsense that although they are not especially stupid (if generally not the brightest coins in the purse), they cannot see through the thicket of misinformation and dishonesty that they’ve accumulated.

    Okay, so they’re not stupid — they’re just pig-fucking ignorant. Or worse, Sherri “I don’t know if the world is flat” Shepherd ignorant.

    … drummed into many of them for so long that they can’t begin to think in a way that would actually be open to a meaningful interpretation of the evidence.

    Okay, they’re not naturally stupid, they’re religiously indoctrinated stupid.

    Friel may not be inherently stupid, then. Likely he is horribly stupefied by propaganda that admits of no true explanatory framework, but which rather forces them into apologetic thinking from the very start of their “investigations” of these matters.

    So, let’s just say they’re pig-fucking ignorant and batshit crazy, or worse, Ann Coulter crazy.

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    December 28, 2007

    I can’t disagree with a word you wrote there, Norm.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  9. #9 Spinoza
    December 28, 2007

    Mothra, that follows from what Friel said. The exclusive OR he used entails that if he’s stupid, then evolution is true.

    That is to say:

    P or Q + P (Todd Friel is stupid)
    entails ~Q (It is not the case that evolution is false)

    and vice versa.

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    December 28, 2007

    “Do you believe that all creatures (past the very first life) were born from other creatures, or do 9at least some) new species or groups just get “created” whole, like for example birds just popping up from dirt due to divine intervention?”

    coincidentally, didn’t we just have someone in the Coulter thread claiming that since cats and dogs mating don’t produce viable offspring, how could there ever be any new species?

    yes, indeed, there is a dividing line between rejection of theory because of psychological conditioning and rampant ignorance and stupidity.

    Behe represents rejection based on conditioning, and our illustrious poster in the Coulter thread represents rampant ignorance and stupidity.

    not to say the two don’t often go hand in hand, mind you.

  11. #11 VWXYNot?
    December 28, 2007

    Oooh, it’s so frustrating when someone comes that close to the last mental step that will bring their whole house of cards tumbling down, but doesn’t quite make it…

  12. #12 qetzal
    December 28, 2007

    Neil B. posed the question (edited to correct typo):

    “Do you believe that all creatures (past the very first life) were born from other creatures, or do (at least some) new species or groups just get “created” whole, like for example birds just popping up from dirt due to divine intervention?”

    Young Earth creationists believe both.

    I understand you want to distinguish between YECs and more “reasonable” creationists, but that question won’t suffice.

  13. #14 Lance
    December 28, 2007

    I would love for just one of them to give me a self-consistent explanation of the fossil record. The closest I’ve heard is that Satan, or a pernicious God, put all those layers of ever more complex, and different from modern species, fossils in the ground to fool us non-believers.

    Mostly they just try to avoid the subject even when you single-mindedly push them to answer that one simple question.

  14. #15 Greg Peterson
    December 28, 2007

    Friel is worse than stupid–he is a fraud, because he is smart enough to know that what he is saying is total nonsense, but he says it anyway so he can be esteemed some sort of Christian media star. Have you ever heard the little spiel that they use on “Way of the Master” to “prove” that an interviewee is a sinner in need of saving? They ask, “Have you ever taken anything that wasn’t yours?” And when the other person says “yes,” the WOTM rep says, “What does that make you?” And the right answer is “thief,” of course. And then they ask, “Have you ever told a lie?” And if they were asking me, I’d have to admit, “Yes.” And then they would ask, “What does that make you?” And I’d say, “An evangelist?” Because Friel is not stupid–not really. What he is is lying. And yes, pontificating on a matter that you studiously avoid learning anything about is lying. It is not just plausible deniability. It is damnable false-witness-bearing, right-there-in-your-own-goddamn-scriptures LYING.

  15. #16 Neil B.
    December 28, 2007

    qetzal, actually that question should indeed distinguish between YECs (who think that life forms were created basically all at once, in the sense that new ones were “created” before other ones could die out or change, such as on successive literal days) and those who write textbooks showing for example disconnected paths running through anancient fossil record. I saw the latter in the Nova show about ID, which seemed to focus on that sort of concept and not YEC stuff (which would never even get to approximating the look of a biology text.) I wonder about the latter, since it seems they accept the reality of the Cambrian, Jurassic, Miocene etc. at the traditional multi-million year spans. It seems they would expect to see the creatures of traditional geohistory at a given “snapshot” taken from a time machine, but still can’t believe in evolution, which makes me curious. (It also makes me wonder about their take on proto-humans like Homo erectus.) IOW, I wonder if they think new creatures were “put in” at intervals over millions of years, etc. rather than all dumped in at the start, if you will. I am not saying that either should be considered “reasonable.” Furthermore, the point about “cosmological ID” is in distinction to either of those views, being about the “why” of the universe and not disputes about what happened during its unfolding.

  16. #17 Boosterz
    December 28, 2007

    Aren’t these “Way of the Master” weirdos the same ones that Kirk Cameron is mixed up with? The same ones that basically said, “See, this banana fits my hand perfectly, therefore all my crazy religious beliefs must be true!”?

    I wonder what the theological implications will be once those guys realize that the average human penis is roughly the same size as that banana and will also fit his hand perfectly…

  17. #18 Larry
    December 28, 2007

    Boosterz(#16), I bow down before you and your god-like ability to turn a phrase.

    I am not worthy!

    I am not worth!

  18. #19 Ichthyic
    December 28, 2007

    I wonder what the theological implications will be once those guys realize that the average human penis is roughly the same size as that banana and will also fit his hand perfectly…

    what makes you think the self-evident conclusion hasn’t already been made by them?

    wouldn’t you already describe what they do mostly as an “intellectual” form of the same thing?

    practice what you preach, and all.

  19. #20 Kseniya
    December 28, 2007

    Not only that…!

    Evolution doesn’t explain why, when you open a jar of Skippy, there’s no penis in the jar (unless, of course, Jim Levenstein is around.)

    Yup. Like a warm apple pie, The “It’s Just A” Theory of Evolution is full of holes.

  20. #21 Christian
    December 28, 2007

    I wonder what the theological implications will be once those guys realize that the average human penis is roughly the same size as that banana and will also fit his hand perfectly…

    Maybe that jerking off proves the existence of God?

    I wonder if they’ll then be consistent and change their name to “Way of the Masterbater”….

    Yeah, I know, that was cheap but what the heck ;->

  21. #22 Neil B.
    December 28, 2007

    Actually, I must correct myself: The question of belief about time scales of biological history would have to be asked first, and then the question about birthing (in the broad sense) would be asked. Then the difference between YECs and “ancient earth periodic insertionists” could be discerned, FWIW. Maybe the latter could be called “divine punctuators.” BTW, it would help to see perspectives here about real PE.

  22. #23 Sastra, OM
    December 28, 2007

    For most people, science is peripheral to their daily lives in the same way mathematics is. Yes, they have to add and do some simple percentages; yes, there is technology. But on a day to day basis, it feels like an intellectual “extra” — sort of like knowing Shakespeare or who painted the Sistine Chapel. On the surface, you don’t see the structure beneath. It’s easy to think it’s all surface.

    This I think is why creationists are not necessarily stupid, and why I wouldn’t assume it. They’re getting into areas they neither understand nor care about, because they think these “superficial” areas are somehow in conflict with — or trumped by — areas that they actually live with — morals, meaning, how you treat others, feeling humble and appreciative. Their focus is elsewhere, and it can be very sharp.

    The problem isn’t basic intelligence. As Michael Shermer points out, smart people can believe weird (or dumb) things, and the smarter they are, the better they are at defending them.

  23. #24 Ichthyic
    December 28, 2007

    This I think is why creationists are not necessarily stupid,

    faulty logic given the premise of their protestations.

    if they were not so vehemently vocal on the matter, and profess themselves to be well versed on the subjects involved, I’d tend to agree with you.

    but they do, so I don’t.

    they may not be stupid “IQ” wise, but they certainly are deliberately so.

    and in the end, does it make a difference?

    if it looks like a duck…

  24. #25 Neil B.
    December 28, 2007


    The problem isn’t basic intelligence. As Michael Shermer points out, smart people can believe weird (or dumb) things, and the smarter they are, the better they are at defending them.

    Posted by: Sastra, OM | December 28, 2007 5:50 PM

    OK, time for some snark: if that’s true, then why are you so confident that what *you* believe about any given thing really makes sense? I mean, maybe that same process has affected your own (insert any blogger/commenter/reader here) judgment about whatever? (Maybe even evolution … 😉 )

  25. #26 Ray S.
    December 28, 2007

    While I won’t try to talk the creationist above out of his self declared stupidity, I don’t think all creationists are stupid. Some are just ignorant on purpose.

  26. #27 Sastra, OM
    December 28, 2007

    The problem isn’t basic intelligence. As Michael Shermer points out, smart people can believe weird (or dumb) things, and the smarter they are, the better they are at defending them.

    Neil B. #24 wrote:

    OK, time for some snark: if that’s true, then why are you so confident that what *you* believe about any given thing really makes sense? I mean, maybe that same process has affected your own (insert any blogger/commenter/reader here) judgment about whatever? (Maybe even evolution … 😉 )

    I can’t be confident that I’m not doing that. I might be — especially if I’m emotionally involved. That’s why I try, as best I can, to use methods which force me to test myself, and consider other possibilities, and be as objective as possible.

    I think that’s all anyone can do, and it’s not fool-proof. Or, I suppose, stupid-proof ;))

  27. #28 truth machine
    December 28, 2007

    As quoted, Todd’s statement is a false dichotomy. Todd Friel is stupid and evolutionary theory is correct.

    Sigh. How can we expect reason from them when so many of us can’t grasp basic logic? Your statement is exactly what Friel was saying the correctness of evolutionary theory would imply.

  28. #29 Mike from Ottawa
    December 28, 2007

    A great many creationists are simply ignorant out of lack of interest, not on purpose. As Sastro points out, for most people, science is on the periphery of their everyday lives, or at least of their everyday intellectual lives. Most folk take no more interest, though, in history, for example. Let’s face it, [your country here] Idol and the vagaries of the lives of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (and their equivalents) are more important to most people than any issue in science is.

    Now, the leaders and proponents of creationism, they’re another matter entirely. A mixture of willful ignorance, outright stupidity and bald-faced lying, dishonest and close-minded at their core.

    Unfortunately, in places like this, we will see only the latter group and practically never any innocently ignorant creationists. They just don’t pop in to science blogs and, since they are mostly just not interested in science, they’re not going to surface anywhere else where this stuff comes up. That’s why good science education in schools is so important. For a great many people, it is the only time most folk might be exposed to science and its methods.

  29. #30 truth machine
    December 28, 2007

    The problem isn’t basic intelligence. As Michael Shermer points out, smart people can believe weird (or dumb) things, and the smarter they are, the better they are at defending them.

    Fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. Just because smart people can believe weird things, that doesn’t mean that any particular person believing a weird thing is smart.

  30. #31 truth machine
    December 28, 2007

    That’s why I try, as best I can, to use methods which force me to test myself, and consider other possibilities, and be as objective as possible.

    Would you consider the notion that that’s an element of “basic intelligence”, and that its absence is functional stupidity?

  31. #32 truth machine
    December 28, 2007

    I wonder what the theological implications will be once those guys realize that the average human penis is roughly the same size as that banana and will also fit his hand perfectly…

    If Jack Napier is average …

  32. #33 Chuck-Fred DiMilo
    December 28, 2007

    Oh yeah? Well, why–why?–Why are there still hagfish???

  33. #34 Boosterz
    December 28, 2007

    I’d say for most creationists it’s not that they are inherently ignorant. I’d say the bulk of them are willfully ignorant. That is much worse then simply being ignorant. Someone who is just ignorant can be educated. Someone who is willfully ignorant can not. They will refuse. It’s the classic case of leading a horse to water but not being able to make it drink.

  34. #35 truth machine
    December 28, 2007

    The exclusive OR he used entails that if he’s stupid, then evolution is true.

    It doesn’t strike me as an exclusive OR; I think evolution being false AND him being stupid is consistent with his statement. (P or Q) == (not P -> Q) == (not Q -> P). If evolution is true, then he’s incredibly stupid. If he’s not incredibly stupid, then evolution is false. I don’t think he meant to say more than that.

  35. #36 SLC
    December 28, 2007

    Actually, as Prof. Dawkins points out, YEC Kurt Wise is also an honest creationist who readily admits that the overwhelming preponderance of the scientific evidence supports an old earth but he believes in a young earth anyway.

  36. #37 Ron Sullivan
    December 28, 2007

    Not so much stupid as stupefied, in my experience. That might sound optimistic, but it’s not.

  37. #38 exor
    December 28, 2007

    As quoted, Todd’s statement is a false dichotomy. Todd Friel is stupid and evolutionary theory is correct.

    As others have pointed out, Friel’s statement does allow for this condition. However, what the original post might have been taking about is the fact that Friel is stupid regardless of the truth of evolution.

  38. #39 George
    December 28, 2007

    Creationists are stupid. “characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless”

    What more need be said. Creationism is the very definition of the word stupid.

  39. #40 Sastra, OM
    December 28, 2007

    truth machine #30 wrote:

    Would you consider the notion that (testing oneself, considering other possibilities, and being objective)’s an element of “basic intelligence”, and that its absence is functional stupidity?

    Possibly, though I think that the sort of scientific mindset this requires comes hard to us, and is relatively recent to most cultures. It often has to be taught — and there are a lot of forces on the “other side” pushing intuition, ‘common sense,’ and having faith as signs of maturity and wisdom.

    Perhaps part of the problem too is that “intelligence” and “stupidity” are really fluid terms. You can be real smart and kinda stupid. Or vice versa. Which one counts more for the Big Judgment may depend on what’s needed, context, and, to an extent, personal taste.

    As for the Fallacy of Affirmation of the Consequent #29, you’re right, but I wasn’t trying to say that, because smart people can believe dumb things, that means people who believe dumb things are therefore smart. I was trying to say that, because smart people can believe dumb things, that means smart people can believe dumb things.

  40. #41 Neil B.
    December 28, 2007

    A little OT, but to get off this prissy logical mumbo jumbo, try this for a hilarious buzz:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_15699_9-most-badass-bible-verses.html

  41. #42 Timeby
    December 28, 2007

    “Do you believe that all creatures (past the very first life) were born from other creatures,”
    But why the exception (past the very first life)? Consider the speculations ofP.C.W. DAVIES, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; in his paper “Does Life’s Rapid Appearance Imply a Martian Origin?” or even “Lithopanspermia in Star Forming Clusters”: Fred C. Adams1,2 and David N. Spergel3: (arXiv:astro-ph/0504648 v1).

    The regression could continue almost to the BB.

  42. #43 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    However, what the original post might have been taking about is the fact that Friel is stupid regardless of the truth of evolution.

    No, it wasn’t talking about that, but I made that point in #35.

  43. #44 Norman Doering
    December 29, 2007

    Sastra wrote:

    I was trying to say that, because smart people can believe dumb things, that means smart people can believe dumb things.

    Unless smart people don’t actually believe anything.

  44. #45 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    I was trying to say that, because smart people can believe dumb things, that means smart people can believe dumb things.

    But that tautology is irrelevant. Shermer’s observation would only come into play to help explain how some smart person could believe some dumb thing once it had been independently demonstrated that they were smart; it can’t be used to support the claim that they are smart — that’s the fallacy I named.

    As it happens, agreeing that you committed a logical error supports what you said about “comes hard” (which I tend to agree with), so you should be eager to agree that you did. :-)

  45. #46 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    Unless smart people don’t actually believe anything.

    Confusing belief with baseless belief isn’t very smart. Smart people do in fact believe many things, and when their beliefs are not only justified but also true, those beliefs constitute knowledge.

  46. #47 wrpd
    December 29, 2007

    I would love to be approached by the Way of the Master idiots. I would turn the question around and ask them if they had ever masturbated. When they said yes, I would then ask them what people who masturbate are called. When they said jerk offs, I would walk away smiling.

    And…some bananas are bigger than others, sometimes requiring another hand. I’m just sayin.

  47. #48 DLC
    December 29, 2007

    Either Todd Friel is stupid or evolution is wrong.
    Either one man is stupid or more than a century of carefully checked, peer reviewed science is wrong. I think I’ll select “one man is stupid”. Or at least deeply deluded.

  48. #49 demallien
    December 29, 2007

    Timeby wrote:

    The regression could continue almost to the BB.

    The problem with panspermia and other “it came from outer space” theories for the origin of life on Earth is that it is difficult to justify the fact that the Earth’s entire shares DNA. I mean, we would expect different “life” bearing meteoroids to hit the Earth, carrying different forms of life, all of the time. We could naturally expect then that there would be numeropus trees of life, instead of just one. The only other alternatives are 1) that panspermia is incredibly rare, which removes the whole attraction of the theory, or 2) that all life everywhere in the universe is DNA-based, which makes DNA rather unique in the universe, and again highly improbable.

  49. #50 Jared
    December 29, 2007

    > demallien

    Not necessarily. It could be that the types of organisms well-suited to surviving extra-long durations in space are not well-suited to establishing themselves amongst an existing biosphere. Similar to the reason why life doesn’t arise from scratch like it did the first time, it would get eaten almost immediately by the existing, and highly developed, microbial population. Puppies taking on dobermans, that kind of thing. Of course, the sheer unkillability of Deinococcus radiodurans (aka, Conan the Bacterium) suggests this is not the case.

    In any event, the problem with panspermia isn’t that it isn’t possible, plausible even, but that it simply moves the abiogenesis offplanet, where it’s even harder to study. And I don’t immediately see why life is more likely to start up on primordial Mars or Venus than on Earth. It’s not as though any of them was exactly a paradise 4 billion years ago.

  50. #51 raven
    December 29, 2007

    Panspermia is a legitimate scientific theory. It involves no magic whatsoever.

    We really know little about biology 3.6 billion years ago. Molecules don’t fossilize well and most of the earth’s surface from that era is just flat out gone in erosion and subduction.

    For all we know, there is a DNA/RNA clade in this spiral arm of the galaxy. Or the whole galaxy is a DNA/RNA clade. With little information, tossing legitimate theories is too early.

    That being said, at present panspermia is intractable to investigation. We really need to get off planet and look at Mars, Europa and maybe a few dozen extrasolar planets. This may happen but it isn’t going to happen soon.

  51. #52 Ted Powell
    December 29, 2007


    > The problem isn’t basic intelligence. As Michael Shermer
    > points out, smart people can believe weird (or dumb) things,
    > and the smarter they are, the better they are at defending them.

    Fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. Just because smart
    people can believe weird things, that doesn’t mean that any
    particular person believing a weird thing is smart.

    Fallacy of straw man.

    The conclusion to be drawn is not the one suggested, but rather that
    “Any particular person believing a weird thing is not necessarily stupid.”

  52. #53 Ted Powell
    December 29, 2007

    It’s a pity that the formatting of a submitted comment does not match that purported by Preview.

  53. #54 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    The claim was “The problem isn’t basic intelligence.” That isn’t the same as “If you think it has to be basic intelligence, it doesn’t” — which is what the Shermer observation supports.

  54. #55 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    To make the point more explicit: Sastra never supported his claim that the problem isn’t basic intelligence, he only supported the possibility that it isn’t basic intelligence — as he said earlier, “This I think is why creationists are not necessarily stupid, and why I wouldn’t assume it”. But they still might be, as Ichthyic argued in #24.

  55. #56 Lyle G
    December 29, 2007

    I think it was Philip Jose Farmer who said , “Religion has nothing to do with intelligence.’

  56. #57 HP
    December 29, 2007

    Here’s another data point to consider: A lot of people of below-average intelligence have no problem accepting the evolution of species. They may not be able to explain the theory, and they may have some serious misunderstandings, or they may simply be incurious, but they nonetheless accept that life evolves and scientists know what they’re talking about.

    So, stupidity is no excuse for creationism.

    Chalking creationism up to stupidity, or even willful ignorance, lets creationists off too easily. I really think that simple dishonesty is behind the vast majority of creationist claims. These people have convinced themselves that real honesty is a mortal sin, and that God will punish them for telling the truth or asking honest questions. Lying for Jesus is a lot easier than being a decent, thoughtful, honest person all the fucking time. So they take the path of least resistance to salvation. They lie.

  57. #58 Doug Rozell
    December 29, 2007

    Pharyngula
    December 29, 2007

    Cool your jets Truth Machine #45. Sastra’s first post (#23) in two paragraphs describes the intellectual life of most people most of the time (echoed by Mike from Ottawa in #29) and concludes with the third paragraph:

    “The problem isn’t basic intelligence. As Michael Shermer points out, smart people can believe weird (or dumb) things, and the smarter they are, the better they are at defending them.”

    In #28, you “sighed” and opined “How can we expect reason from them when so many of us can’t grasp basic logic? “, and in #30 accused her of

    “Fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. Just because smart people can believe weird things, that doesn’t mean that any particular person believing a weird thing is smart.”

    to which she quite properly replied in #40 that she intended nothing of the sort, only

    “I was trying to say that, because smart people can believe dumb things, that means smart people can believe dumb things.”

    which you in #45 characterized as an irrelevant tautology, and invited her to admit she has made a mistake in argumentation.

    Now, a fallacy of reasoning occurs in an argument when the conclusion does not follow from the premises. An argument requires at least a major premise, a minor premise, and an inferential conclusion, each in language that can be parsed as distinct propositions. However, as #23 is but an extended (and insightful) observation, as Sastra tried to explain in #40, and does not feature a minor premise or a conclusion, it does not have the requisite structure of an argument. Therefore, as her #23 was not an argument, there was not possibly a fallacy of inferential reasoning on her part. Instead, in your impressive logic chopping, you evidently did not read her cleanly worded prose, and went sailing off in all directions after a logical error that does not exist.

    I hope I have the genders correct, and offend no-one for any error of mine on that account.

    Doug Rozell, M.A. (Sociology), M.L.I.S.
    Beachville, Canada

  58. #59 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    A somewhat droll sophistry there, Doug. Sometimes the elements of of a syllogism are implicit.

  59. #60 Sastra, OM
    December 29, 2007

    Doug Rozell #58:

    Yes, and well put. Thanks. I wasn’t trying to make the argument truth machine seemed to think I was trying to make. If I had been, he would have been right, of course.

    I was simply using Shermer’s quote to point out that weird or stupid beliefs are held by all sorts of people, and when intelligent people are creationists, say, they simply use their intellectual skills to become very good at rationalizing and defending a belief they often originally arrived at for non-rational reasons. Intelligence alone doesn’t make them immune. I think it also requires some training in how to think — and an ability to put aside emotions.

    Of course, some creationists are pretty stupid across the board. But, from what I’ve seen, being consistent across the board isn’t that common, either way.

  60. #61 Ted Powell
    December 29, 2007

    A somewhat droll sophistry there, Doug. Sometimes the elements of of a syllogism are implicit.
    So you undertook to “fill in the blanks” and then complained that the result did not make sense. #52 refers.

  61. #62 G
    December 30, 2007

    The real quote was actually:

    “Either evolution is wrong or I’ll have to code more stupid flash games.”

    See: http://www.uncommondescent.com/darwinalia/panda-monium.swf

  62. #63 CortxVortx
    December 30, 2007

    Re: #58

    Bravo, Doug Rozell. Adroitly deflated pomposity.

    — CV

  63. #64 Henwli
    December 31, 2007

    Here’s a little ditty I put together last fall, while I was going through detox after listening to Way of the Master for two years:

    http://www.youshare.com/view.php?file=youarenotamonkey.mp3

    Oh yeah, and Todd is pretty much the polar opposite of honest.

    – Henri

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