Pharyngula

fakeinjury

Uh-oh. I’ve disappointed David Klinghoffer. I should probably put that on my CV.

You see, the other day he praised a fellow named Tom Gilson for a post in which he provided a succinct summary of Intelligent Design creationism, and I took that summary apart, point by point. You might think, perhaps Klinghoffer finds fault with my analysis? He doesn’t provide any rebuttals. Did I get something wrong in using Gilson’s definition of ID? Nope, he doesn’t say…that would be hard to do anyway, since Klinghoffer praised it as exactly accurate!, exclamation point and all. Even in his title he declares that Tom Gilson Nails It.

So what’s his complaint? That I corrected the wrong person.

Gilson’s main point was that Darwinists predictably go after straw-man versions of ID — “God of the gaps,” aka “Goddidit,” etc. I would add that another, related habit they have is to avoid grappling directly with ID’s main theorists.

With that in mind, here’s a post by atheist biologist PZ Myers. It’s snide as always, and that’s fine. It’s his schtick. There is the expected accompanying image macro, this one with a picture of Mike Myers/Dr. Evil with a humorous caption. Dr. Myers comments on my post thanking Mr. Gilson for his thumbnail sketch of what Dr. Meyer said about, among other things, the massive challenge of protein evolution that relies on unguided natural processes alone. In his article, Gilson refers to a post by Meyer sharply taking issue on that with Richard Dawkins, who took issue with Dr. Meyer on the same question (“Dawkins’s Dilemma: Misrepresent the Mechanism…or Face the Math”).

Now guess. Besides characterizing ID in the usual cartoon terms (“magic man done it”), do you think Myers chose to grapple with Tom Gilson…or with Stephen Meyer himself? Of course! He’s goes after Mr. Gilson’s formulation. Myers totally bypasses Steve Meyer’s highly germane response to Dawkins. He also ignores Paul Nelson’s response to Dawkins, and a further response from geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig.

Why would this be? Instead of arguing with these figures in the world of ID science and scholarship, he argues with Tom Gilson’s paragraph.

I didn’t talk about Gilson, or Meyer, or Nelson, or Lönnig, or anyone — I went straight to the argument, the short summary that Klinghoffer himself announced as exactly accurate! It was brief and pithy and had three clear, manageable points, and of course, was exactly accurate!, so it was a useful angle to address ID creationism’s claims in a way that they wouldn’t be later able to backtrack and claim I was inventing a straw man — which is what Klinghoffer said us evolutionists were always doing in his post. Wouldn’t you know it, he’d find a way run away from a statement that Nails It! and was exactly accurate! by disavowing the author. Gilson is not part of the world of ID science and scholarship, despite being able to define its core principles in a way that earns accolades from the Discovery Institute’s propaganda organ, and despite publishing books critical of atheism and atheists. When someone criticizes his formulation, though, suddenly he’s not good enough, and they’re just going after the easy, little guy because they’re afraid to go after the Big Guys of ID.

This, of course, is nonsense. I went after the definition, which Klinghoffer had already accepted. I don’t see Meyer as any better scholar than Gilson; I’ve read Meyer’s books, which are damnably awful, but I haven’t read any of Gilson’s, so he wins by default. And the thing is, I’ve gone after Meyer several times. I read Meyer’s Signature in the Cell. short version of my opinion:

It’s a bloated paperweight, full of self-indulgent preening by Meyer, and without a single novel idea in it — it’s simply the most unmemorable, uninteresting pile of schlock the DI has turned out yet.

I also read Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt. Short review:

Meyer is going to drool out a few hundred pages of drivel that will only convince the gullible, the ignorant, and the already dedicated creationists. There is not one bit of substance in the book so far; just rehashed Intelligent Design creationist talking points. This “specified information” of which he speaks is undefined and unmeasurable — it’s the phrase they flap at anyone who challenges their claim of have concrete evidence against evolution.

So everything in his reply was false, and he failed to address one single point in my criticism of ID. I think I know who’s running away from substance here.

But then, this is what Klinghoffer always does. The people who critize ID are chastised, not for their arguments, but because they aren’t paying the proper respect to the Bigwigs of ID. All those other creationists are easy punching bags we pick on because we’re scared of pompous wanker Stephen Meyer. And when we do address his phony heroes directly, sudden silence.

But then, that’s Klinghoffer’s schtick.

Comments

  1. #1 dean
    April 7, 2016

    Where would you find an ID proponent that has even a minute amount of honesty regarding science?

  2. #2 Jim
    April 7, 2016

    pZ Meyers – you’re great! Thanks for taking the time to expose the morons behind the curtain.

    And thanks for having a comment section. Something the DI refuses to host. For obvious reasons. DI can’t sale as many books and videos if thier misled followers learn the DI is painfully dishonest and ignorant.

  3. #3 See Noevo
    April 8, 2016

    This cartoon is called “Robot Redux”.
    (My followers will understand the title.)
    …………
    Cartoon Panel 1:

    Two guys, See and PZ, looking at the amazing activity of a new robot.

    See: Wow! The guy or gal who designed that thing did an amazingly intelligent job.

    PZ: No job was required. It wasn’t intelligently designed.
    ……………
    Panel 2:

    See: What do you mean?

    PZ: First of all, the design’s obviously not “intelligent” because that robot can’t operate forever. Something about it is bound to go wrong. Sure as hell, it’s probably even subject to rust. But that’s beside the main point that…
    ………….
    Panel 3:

    See: So, because of THAT you think it’s not intellig…

    PZ: Ah, ah, ah. But the MAIN point is that it’s not intelligently designed because it’s not designed AT ALL.
    ……………
    Panel 4:

    See: How can you SAY that?

    PZ: It’s just simple logic. An object can’t be considered intelligently designed (i.e. designed by some intelligence) if the subject – the presumed “designer” – was not himself intelligently designed. In other words, since we know man is not the result of intelligent design, we know his “creations” are not intelligently designed.
    ……………
    Panel 5:

    See: Are you insane?
    ……………………………
    The end.

  4. #4 Dean
    April 8, 2016

    Sn, you are the most fundamentally stupid person to cross these blogs since they’ve existed.

  5. #5 Aaron Alcott
    Ames, IA
    April 8, 2016

    See’s post is such a poor straw man argument that I’m surprised it was even worth the time to type.

  6. #6 Jazzlet
    April 8, 2016

    “My followers ….”

    Always nice to have a good laugh.

  7. #7 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 8, 2016

    @See Noevo: I’m finding it difficult to determine whether you are deliberately presenting a straw man argument or genuinely don’t understand the arguments that have been presented to refute intelligent design.

  8. #8 Dog Gone
    April 9, 2016

    Wizard Smith, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  9. #9 See Noevo
    April 9, 2016

    To Wizard #7:

    I noticed you didn’t respond to, let alone refute, my corrections of your false assertions in #40 of

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/04/05/your-exactly-accurate-definition-is-still-exactly-stupid/#comment-845473

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    April 10, 2016

    “My followers ….”

    Always nice to have a good laugh.

    exactly my response.

  11. #11 See Noevo
    April 10, 2016

    Ichthyic,

    *You* are one of followers.

    It’s obvious you follow my posts.

  12. #12 Hassan
    Toronto
    April 10, 2016

    What really is the point of debating? The atheist will never see anything but what he/she wants to see, and the same goes for creationists. The interpretation of the scientific facts is philosophy, whether atheistic or theistic. And by the way, any discussion of this comment, is also just philosophical. 🙂 It all comes down to belief.

  13. #13 See Noevo
    April 10, 2016

    To Hassan #12:

    I hear you.
    I’d only add that the IDers’ belief is far more reasonable.

  14. #14 dean
    United States
    April 10, 2016

    Yes sn, belief in something for which there is no historical or physical evidence, and which explains nothing, is far more reasonable than the science that got us here.

    Oh wait, that’s not true. It’s just as stupid as saying “The interpretation of the scientific facts is philosophy,”

  15. #15 jfb
    April 11, 2016

    See Noevo #3:

    The problem with your comic strip is that we *know* robots are designed, because *we* designed them. PZ is not going to argue that a robot isn’t designed because he knows damned well that they have been designed *by humans*.

    Robots don’t (yet) spontaneously self-assemble. They don’t (yet) spontaneously smelt the alloys that make up their parts from raw iron and bauxite. They don’t (yet) behave like living things.

    You need to be able to show us the designer’s fingerprints, and no, “it’s too complex to have formed by itself” is *not* those fingerprints. You *could* argue that the laws of physics and chemistry are those fingerprints (hey, why not), but even that doesn’t mean that the designer was tweaking things at the protein level. For all you know, the designer could have set things up to happen “spontaneously”; i.e., started a massive SimEarth game and sat back to watch what happened.

  16. #16 See Noevo
    April 12, 2016

    To jfb #15:

    “See Noevo #3:
    The problem with your comic strip is that we *know* robots are designed, because *we* designed them. PZ is not going to argue that a robot isn’t designed because he knows damned well that they have been designed *by humans*.”

    I’ll reuse an analogy of mine, but substitute robot for laptop:

    “If earth’s astronauts landed on a planet never-before visited (as far as all of mankind knew), and discovered there the equivalent of a functioning ROBOT, they would conclude it was designed intelligently by some intelligent thing, and did NOT self-organize from the planet’s dust (which might include silicon!). [And a living thing is far more complex than a ROBOT.)”
    ………

    “Robots don’t (yet) spontaneously self-assemble. They don’t (yet) spontaneously smelt the alloys that make up their parts from raw iron and bauxite. They don’t (yet) behave like living things.”

    You’re right!
    But if robots will someday “self-assemble” (reproduce?) and *behave like living things*,
    why is it taking them so long?

    I mean, the very first living thing on earth must have developed

    a) a type of self-awareness (a knowing that it needed nourishment, for instance), and

    b) systems to identify and locate and acquire and ingest and digest nourishment, and

    c) a system to reproduce itself,

    all in the *blink of an eye*!
    (Or however long it would be before it starved to death and/or died after its short lifetime.).
    ………

    “You need to be able to show us the designer’s fingerprints, and …”

    I need to show you nothing.
    Sure as hell, there are some people who wouldn’t believe in the resurrected Christ if He Himself appeared before them. As it is written
    “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.”
    And
    “And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
    He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'”

  17. #17 dean
    United States
    April 12, 2016

    sn, your “analogy” is just as full of shit with a robot as it was with a computer. It’s been explained to you a ton of times, you’re just too stupid to understand.

    I need to show you nothing.
    Sure as hell, there are some people who wouldn’t believe in the resurrected Christ if He Himself appeared before them.

    Evidence, dumbass, evidence. There is none outside your bible to even indicate he existed. There is no external evidence of the resurrection. There is nothing but your one book, and no thinking (and thinking is the key word) person that buys a story that spectacular based only on the writings of a book, especially when
    – those writings were not based on first hand knowledge
    – there is no supporting documentation

    It is amazing that you are so immensely stupid and dishonest at the same time. But we do have a great deal of evidence of both – you seem incredibly proud of characteristics most people would view as faults.

  18. #18 jfb
    April 12, 2016

    See Noevo @ 16
    >> “You need to be able to show us the designer’s
    >> fingerprints, and …”
    >>
    > I need to show you nothing.

    And yet, biologists must be able to present copious evidence of the tiniest of evolutionary changes. Because, you know, that’s *fair*.

    Ain’t how it works, Bubba. You make an argument *for* a designer, it’s incumbent upon *you* to show evidence of that designer. You don’t get to sit back and say, “prove to me that it isn’t”.

  19. #19 See Noevo
    April 12, 2016

    To jfb #18:

    “You make an argument *for* a designer, it’s incumbent upon *you* to show evidence of that designer.”

    As I wrote moments ago on another thread at this site,
    the *evidence* for a designer is all around you.
    You just dismiss it.
    You’d rather believe
    – That reality came from nothing, that a “point of singularity” came from nothing, which then caused a Big Bang for no reason,
    – That that Big Bang followed natural laws which had no lawgiver,
    – That those natural laws without a lawgiver ultimately led the BB’s hydrogen and helium to the brain that is cogitating these words.

    You’re incredibly credulous.

    The *evidence* for a creator/designer is all around you.
    Now, if you’re looking for *proof*, you won’t find it.
    Sure as hell, not even science makes claims to proofs.

  20. #20 dean
    April 13, 2016

    Again sn, “proof” that is merely your lack of understanding is not proof of anything – other than your idiocy.

  21. #21 jfb
    April 13, 2016

    See Noevo @ 19:

    And yet, you’re willing to accept the idea of a “designer” on no better evidence. You’re being just as credulous, just in a different direction.

    If there is a designer, then that designer is operating in a manner that’s indistinguishable from purely “natural” processes. There’s very little that can’t be accounted for by existing knowledge, and the *right* answer for the stuff we can’t account for is “we don’t know yet”. And those gaps in our knowledge have been closing over time.

    We don’t *have* to invoke God (because really, that’s what we’re talking about, why beat around the bush) to explain most of what we see in nature. We don’t have to invoke God to explain the history of life on Earth, we don’t have to invoke God to explain the motions of the planets.

    That is, if you believe that God is a separate entity from the universe itself. An argument could be made (not by me, but by someone else) that “God” and the universe are the same thing. That God ultimately drives everything by virtue of being the universe itself. Not a parsimonious explanation (if true, then why consider God as a separate being at all?), but, you know, may satisfy some of the woo-ier believers.

    Right now, we don’t know what the universe looked like immediately before the Big Bang. Different people have different assumptions about what came before, but until we can pierce that particular veil, “we don’t know” is the only defensible answer.

  22. #22 See Noevo
    April 13, 2016

    To jfb #21:

    “If there is a designer, then that designer is operating in a manner that’s indistinguishable from purely “natural” processes.”

    Please describe in detail – and back it up with empirical data from nature or from laboratory experiments – the “natural process” which gave birth to the first life on this planet.

    Then, you may describe in detail – and back it up with empirical data from nature or from laboratory experiments – the “natural process” by which that first life mutated

    a) a type of self-awareness (a knowing that it needed nourishment, for instance), and
    b) systems to identify and locate and acquire and ingest and digest nourishment, and
    c) a system to reproduce itself,
    BEFORE IT STARVED TO DEATH and/or died after its short lifetime.

    Then, you can do the same for the *non-rational*, alleged, “natural process” process of evolution producing *rationality* (and the brain that “does” rationality).

    Show me the data, like a real scientist.
    ………..

    “There’s very little that can’t be accounted for by existing knowledge, and the *right* answer for the stuff we can’t account for is “we don’t know yet”.

    Oh, perhaps I should apologize.
    Are you saying “we don’t know yet” that *natural causes* account for life and all we see?

    Is that what you’re saying?
    ………..

    “Right now, we don’t know what the universe looked like immediately before the Big Bang.”

    What the universe looked like BEFORE the BB?
    I could be wrong, but I *thought* that one of the atheists (usually unstated) concerns about the development of the reigning paradigm of the Big Bang theory is that it clearly implies *our universe had a beginning*.
    That is, the BBT says there WAS NO universe before the BB. The atheists would rather believe the universe just *always was.*
    But the BBT says No.

  23. #23 skrotbil københavn
    http://skrotpriser.com
    April 14, 2016

    You’re incredibly credulous.
    The *evidence* for a creator/designer is all around you.
    Now, if you’re looking for *proof*, you won’t find it.
    Sure as hell, not even science makes claims to proofs.

  24. #24 remalhaut
    April 14, 2016

    Sigh. @SN: When your own argument for a “designer” is the incredibly childish copout “the evidence is all around us” you don’t then get to demand detailed counter-arguments. Your entire argument, which you love to repeat ad nauseam, is one of ignorance and lack of imagination: you demand perfect knowledge of not only evolution but also cosmology, while complaining of how hard it is for you to imagine a universe which wasn’t organized by a person. It’s like saying that you don’t know how nuclear fusion works, you can’t imagine that it might occur by itself, and therefore the Sun must be powered by magic leprechauns.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.