Pharyngula

Opportunity to engage

One of the people behind Expelled is holding forth in a thread at Antievolution.org, and it looks like he’s getting kicked around good. This is your chance to have a serious discussion with one of the principals behind the move, ask him questions, and comment on their tactics and content.

In other words, go get him, gang.

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    February 26, 2008

    At least Kevin Miller admits that he’s against the very foundations of science:

    As for being mystified by “my cause,” my main interest in this project is the whole philosophy of science angle. How do we conceptualize science and its implications? How can we know that we know anything? The debate between rationalism and empiricism. Epistemology, that sort of thing. Personally, I see ID as a challenge not just to Darwinian evolution but to the very foundation of the scientific enterprise itself. Will we allow non-material causation into science or won’t we? Most people think this question was settled decades or centuries ago. IDers say new evidence in biology and elsewhere compels us to reconsider our answer. I find this intriguing, especially when you bring in philosophers like Michael Polanyi, Alvin Plantinga, and new discoveries in quantum physics that are essentially saying the same thing. I’m not talking about supernatural causation–as in magic. Just non-material causation, such as human consciousness. Right now, I see many branches of science–particularly evolutionary biology–as highly rationalistic. Theory-driven rather than evidence driven. ID seems to be an attempt to call science back to a more empirical approach–at least according to the rhetoric I’ve heard from ID advocates. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them say, “Follow the evidence wherever it leads.”) So I’m prone to wonder if all the fireworks over ID are really just the most recent manifestation of an age-old scientific debate that’s been cloaked in all sorts of modern religious and political agendas. It’s just the latest swing of the rationalist/empiricist pendulum. At least that’s one way of trying to conceptualize it. I could be way off. It’s been a long day.

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=14;t=5152;st=240#entry98428

    [Emphasis added]

    I responded at the same site thusly:

    As for being mystified by “my cause,” my main interest in this project is the whole philosophy of science angle. How do we conceptualize science and its implications? How can we know that we know anything? The debate between rationalism and empiricism.

    Not in the slightest. The two necessarily go together.

    Epistemology, that sort of thing. Personally, I see ID as a challenge not just to Darwinian evolution but to the very foundation of the scientific enterprise itself.

    Of course it is, since ID insists that sticking to the evidence doesn’t matter.

    Will we allow non-material causation into science or won’t we?

    If you ever find evidence for “non-material causation,” we will allow it into science. What you’re calling “material causation” is what we call “causation” in science. Matter itself is at issue as to origin and meaning.

    Most people think this question was settled decades or centuries ago.

    In science, it was.

    IDers say new evidence in biology and elsewhere compels us to reconsider our answer.

    And we’ve asked, futilely, for any legitimate evidence that this is so.

    I find this intriguing, especially when you bring in philosophers like Michael Polanyi, Alvin Plantinga, and new discoveries in quantum physics that are essentially saying the same thing. I’m not talking about supernatural causation–as in magic. Just non-material causation, such as human consciousness.

    That’s just nonsense. By all of the evidence we have, human consciousness does not violate any physics, including the laws of thermodynamics. What is more, it appears evolved. It’s merely a presupposition of IDists that consciousness is “non-material,” whatever that phrase is supposed to mean.

    Besides which, human consciousness has never been excluded from science as a causal phenomenon. So you’re attacking a strawman.

    Right now, I see many branches of science–particularly evolutionary biology–as highly rationalistic.

    Actually, it’s ID that tries to use rational means such as mathematics to deny the typical inferences of descent by observed processes of all of life from a single source (if perhaps a population rather than an individual or pair of conjugators). We rely on the evidence to come up with explanatory models.

    Theory-driven rather than evidence driven.

    Perhaps such mistakes are why you call evolutionary theory “Darwinism,” because you fail to understand that the theory has changed with the evidence.

    ID seems to be an attempt to call science back to a more empirical approach–at least according to the rhetoric I’ve heard from ID advocates.

    Perhaps you ought to listen to the other side for once.

    (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them say, “Follow the evidence wherever it leads.”)

    Oh, so the fact that we’ve pointed out time and again that they fail to follow the evidence has been ignored by you. I guess that explains why the movie is so full of errors and false accusation.

    So I’m prone to wonder if all the fireworks over ID are really just the most recent manifestation of an age-old scientific debate that’s been cloaked in all sorts of modern religious and political agendas.

    Why didn’t you bother to find out, before accusing scientists of numerous calumnies?

    It’s just the latest swing of the rationalist/empiricist pendulum. At least that’s one way of trying to conceptualize it. I could be way off. It’s been a long day.

    It’s not like we haven’t actually answered every one of your claims, with evidence, long ago.

    Glen D

    ————–
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  2. #2 Notheri
    February 26, 2008

    So, I started reading the thread and right away there is a user whose signature consists of five quotes of other people complementing him! Boy, was I ever glad to find that person arguing for the opposite view point!

  3. #3 Notheri
    February 26, 2008

    Holy Shite, I was mistaken.

    I hadn’t noticed him that far at the top, too.

  4. #4 Rich
    February 26, 2008

    “So, I started reading the thread and right away there is a user whose signature consists of five quotes of other people complementing him! Boy, was I ever glad to find that person arguing for the opposite view point!”

    Oi! That’s moi! Problem, pal?

    *wink*

    3 of the quotes are quotemines. The avatar is a parody of DaveScots. Geeeeeeez!

    WRT to “was I ever glad to find that person arguing for the opposite view point” I’m pro-evolution, sunshine. I even told PZ about the thread.

  5. #5 CrypticLife
    February 26, 2008

    I was busy indoctrinating my son this weekend — I took him to the Museum of Natural History in NYC, where we spent almost six hours on the fourth floor. He was intent on going through the vertebrates halls methodically (they’re arranged according to a developmental cladogram) in sequence and making special note of each new defining feature, examining the fossils for evidence of the feature, and explaining it all to his little brother.

    He’s seven. I was so, so proud to see that level of dedication and focus. He’s going to do his second-grade unit on dinosaurs next month and be able to explain the difference between Saurishchian and Ornithischian dinosaurs, note the tri-boned middle ear of mammals, and point out features such as the palatal holes of the sauropsids and the dip in the side of the jaw of the genasaurs.

  6. #6 CrypticLife
    February 26, 2008

    Sorry for the completely OT post. I’m just so pleased, and so proud, and had to tell someone.

  7. #7 Notheri
    February 26, 2008

    Rich, I only stumbled upon the signature after reading
    “He was EXPELLED!!! by the darwinist establisment!”
    Clearly, as I noticed shortly afterwards, meant to be mocking.

    “I’m pro-evolution, sunshine.”
    Thanks for donning the blinders after I had put them down, mate. Still, apologies, though.

    “(…) sunshine (…)” – Rich

  8. #8 Rich
    February 26, 2008

    No worries. Russell’s law is again validated through testing.

    http://untravel.blogspot.com/2007/03/conservapedia-testing-russells-law.html

  9. #9 raven
    February 26, 2008

    I’ve listed a selection of professors and state officials who were fired for accepting evolution. By the death cultists of course. Canned post. Someone should ask the Expelled liars why they don’t do a movie of it.

    I’m not even going to visit the site. The stupid hurts my brain.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman and Bolyanatz

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling

    1 attempted firing Nancy Murphy

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson

    1 state official fired Chris Comer

    Up to 6 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    Posted by: raven

    |

  10. #10 J-Dog
    February 26, 2008

    Thanks for the tip PZ. We need some new creationists… we seem to have broken our last one.

    So, if you like ID, or if you’re even an Old School YEC – we’re here for you! Bring on the crazy, we’re here for you! Think the world is flat? Think there’s a code in the Bible? (Sorry, not you Bill)- Call us crazy, but we’re here for you – waitin’ for YOU to save Our Immortal and totally Immoral Souls!

    We got Actual Real Scientists, we got a veritable United Nations quorum, with posters from France, England, Wales, Ireland, NZ and a moon-talker from Iceland, or Denmark or Sweeden, or someplace it’s always friggen cold.

    We got witches, warlocks and even a Neandertal. Come share your Flood Stories! Share with us your wondrous tales of the Dinos In Eden- and whether or not they had English saddles, or good old American western saddles.

    Hey Sternberg grab your balls if you can find them and come play! Hey Mooney Wells! Come on over! Luskin you nut! Come on down! You’re a winner – or is that a whiner? Hey Casey, prove me wrong!

  11. #11 DanioPhD
    February 26, 2008

    CrypticLife (#5, 6) That is awesome! I have a seven year old son as well, and his ability to ask insightful, incisive questions about science, literature, religion, or any old thing just makes me beam with parental pride. I’m sure your son’s class project will blow his teacher(s) away.

  12. #12 Longtime Lurker
    February 26, 2008

    I was toying with the notion of logging on and playing Creationist Concern Troll (yapping on about how ID is thinly veiled Gnosticism, with Behe’s designer seeming more like a malevolent Demiurge than the omnipotent, loving daddy of Jesus H. Christ) but the sane folks are doing a fine job of taking this bozo to the cleaners. This little Cretard tidbit, though leaped off the page at me:

    “Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler … until it was too late.
    Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator … until it is too late.”

    Funny, this guy must also think that many Jews will perist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator as well.

  13. #13 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    February 26, 2008

    Raven #9

    Eric Pianka – not fired but Dumbski called home and land insecurity on him as a terrorist.

  14. #14 Physicalist
    February 26, 2008

    Kevin Miller’s main interest: “Will we allow non-material causation into science or won’t we?”

    We should ask why they would want their non-material causation in science. They had natural theology for centuries (didn’t they?), they’ve still got non-material causation in theology departments. Why should they care about science.

    Answer: because science has been successful, while their theological projects have been completely barren. Now they want by theft what they couldn’t get by honest toil: respect. They want to don the mantle of science b/c science — purely naturalistic science — has earned undeniable respect.

    Sorry chumps, it doesn’t work that way. Respect has to be earned. If your theologians start to make real progress in understanding the world, I guarantee that you’ll have youngsters joining your research program, and universities all over will be setting up new theological research centers. But we all know that this is never going to happen; appeal to non-natural causes is never going to yield explanatory predictive success.

  15. #15 raven
    February 26, 2008

    Thanks, hadn’t heard that one. Death threats again. FWIW, I’ve finally decided that Dembski is medically mentally ill. Long history of hostile and bizarre behavior there along with continual lying.

    wikipedia:

    Threats to Pianka and the Texas Academy of Sciences
    As a consequence of this, Pianka and members of the Texas Academy of Science have received death threats.[11][12] According to Pianka, “His daughters are now worried about his and their safety, and says his life has been turned upside-down by ‘right-wing fools.'”[13]

    [edit] William Dembski and the Department of Homeland Security
    On 2 April 2006, prominent intelligent design proponent William A. Dembski stated on his blog that he reported Eric Pianka to the Department of Homeland Security because he and fellow Discovery Institute affiliate Forrest Mims felt that Pianka’s speech fomented bioterrorism.[7] Dembski claims that the Department was already aware of Pianka’s statements.[7] Subsequently, Pianka was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Austin.[13] On 5 April Dembski offered a wager concerning Pianka:

    “I’m willing to wager $1000 with David Hillis that sympathy not just nationally but at UTAustin for Pianka will take a nose dive once his TAS speech goes public. Of course, we need to set the terms of this wager more precisely. But it’s a wager easily settled — Pianka needs merely to make his speech before the TAS public (the actual speech — not a bowdlerized version of it).” [14]

  16. #16 raven
    February 26, 2008

    I’ll add Michael Korn to the list as well. Death threats against an entire department at UC Boulder and now a fugitive from justice.

    If anyone wants to borrow or steal my list of victims of fundie creo persecution feel free.

    I’ll keep an informal tally as information surfaces online here at pharyngula in a canned post.

  17. #17 CrypticLife
    February 26, 2008

    Thanks DanioPhD, I know exactly what you mean — my wife has asked me, “How do you know x is smart?”, and never really understood when I said it was because of the questions he asks. She’s a wonderful, wonderful woman with a lot of gifts, but isn’t particularly academic or philosophical.

  18. #18 LiberalDirk
    February 27, 2008

    @J J-dog

    Also some people from South Africa on here…

  19. #19 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2008

    Sorry for the completely OT post. I’m just so pleased, and so proud, and had to tell someone.

    Congratulations! :-)

  20. #20 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2008

    Sorry for the completely OT post. I’m just so pleased, and so proud, and had to tell someone.

    Congratulations! :-)

  21. #21 Biff the Bartender
    February 27, 2008

    Re: @12
    “Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler … until it was too late.
    Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator … until it is too late.”

    Wait, wait wait… Did he just compare God to Hitler? Nicely played, anonymous person at antievolution.com… Nicely played!

  22. #22 Tor Hershman
    February 29, 2008

    I just went over a registered and “You don’t have permission to post” is all moi got from the AntiEvol peeps.

    If moi had permission, this…..would’ve been posted.

    Well, well, well, (Now that’s a “Deep” subject) it appears that Ben Stein has a lill’ movie.

    I have a wee film/research too but unlike Mr. Stein mine illuminates AND entertains in about five minutes and, A-N-D, it’s FREE!

    Mr. Stein (BTW: moi’s film/research tells how the Jewish people REALLY came about) charges you for propaganda and I give the human race knowledge for free, ain’t I a moron? Perhaps.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7iQRFP_e90

    And here is moi’s, officially ignored, film/research
    into the origin of Christendom.

    Since the film is
    the awful facts it must be disregarded by those that tout
    the beautiful untruths.

    The Religious Authorities, and those that GAIN from there being religions [e.g., People in the “Business” of Atheism], always say NOT to view that which they DO want you to see and avert their eyes, and remain quite silent, about that which they hope you will not chance upon.

    Part I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzY2bVsZK5s

    Part II

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sckuqPulRGk

    If there were a place, and there is, where intelligence that rises little higher than our human brain stems’ capacity WERE allowed Mr. Stein WOULD be found there, hence. . .check your local theater listings for Mr. Stein and murmuring mermaids and yammering yaks – talkin’ terrorists – pontificating puppies – babbling babes – enunciating elephants – answering ants – zinging zombies – replying Rambos a al lambos – and many more such “Levels,” though a basically base intellectual strata they t’were, ’tis and t’will be.

    However, Ben Stein is only doing exactly what moi tells people TO DO and that is,
    suck-up to the prevailing mythology in the CULTure you happen to be surrounded by.
    Hence, Ben Stein is flying first class and considering buying a private plane and moi ’tis takin’ the bus and considering purchasing some meat, for WifeyWu, if’in moi can budget it in.

    Stay on groovin’
    (Ain’t ya glad moi didn’t alliterate from A to Z?)
    safari,
    Tor

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