Green Buttocks

Does anyone watch TV anymore?

Anyone?

I mean, seriously, its like every other day Creationists are doing something infinitely more hysterical than anything Hollywood can think up.

Todays side-splitting sitcom is brought to you by William Dembski and a new character*-- a buxom young brunette named Sean McDowell. They wrote a new hip (some would say, 'groovy'... perhaps even 'ZANY!') book on ID Creationism for teenagers, 'Understanding Intelligent Design'.

I think Creationists are going for 'The Odd Couple' spin with this mismatched duo! Check this out!

Dembski: theotard with no scientific training

McDowell: theotard with no scientific training

WHOA! You just KNOW their bizarrely erotic book on Creationism for kids is gonna be something new and awesome!

PARADIGM SHIFTING!

Check out the first chapter, available for download for free online! It alone contains mind-blowing, REVOLUTIONARY ideas like:

  • Degrees in 'Bible' make you competent to discuss biology, physics, and biochemisty
  • Science makes atheists
  • Reading the Bible makes atheists
  • There is no difference between philosophical and methodological naturalism
  • Public schools indoctrinate children with atheism
  • Darwin = Propaganda
  • All scientists are atheists
  • Science and Christianity are at war
  • Only Christians have A Purpose(TM)
  • Evil is the result of The Fall
  • "Redemption is found in Jesus Christ"
  • Stupid Evilutionists believe we can solve our own problems (I shit you not, page 19/20)
  • Stupid Evilutionists believe one day the Sun will burn up the Earth
  • Buddhist believe something else, and we dont care
  • Darwinism is a religion
  • Darwin is in 'Lilo & Stitch'
  • Darwinism is false AND an ideology
  • Gratuitous reference to Marx
  • ANTHONY FLEW CONVERTED!!!!!
  • The world looks designed
  • Darwinism cant explain INSECTS + BIRDS
  • Bacterial flagellum
  • 'Just so story"
  • Judge Jones is a poopy head

WOW! I mean WOW! I havent seen any of those arguments before! Man, Dembski and McDowell TOTALLY blind sided us with this hammer!

ROFL!!!!

* Michael Behe appears to have been written out of this seasons script. He was last seen giving Creationists $6.99 blowjobs in the Amazon.com bargain bin.

More like this

We all secretly wish for it. We all are afraid to say it, haunted by screams of 'EVILUTION BE DED IN 10 YRZ!'. But seriously, I think Professional Creationism is a dying profession. 1-- Inability to adapt to the genomic revolution. Everything in biology is now 'connected'. Whats the first thing…
Our local "Dissenter from Darwinism," Fred Skiff, gave a talk last Friday. Prior to the talk, I predicted: One, that Skiff will provide a strawman version of evolutionary theory (heck, and science itself) as he did last time I saw him speak... Two, that Skiff will assert or imply that evolution…
Nearly ten years ago I started a book on Creationist misuse of intellectual history. I never finished it, which is probably for the best. The file is unfortunately MIA and all I have remaining was a section that I turned into a talk that I gave at ASU in 1999. Over the next few days, I'll be…
Nearly ten years ago I started a book on Creationist misuse of intellectual history. I never finished it, which is probably for the best. The file is unfortunately MIA and all I have remaining was a section that I turned into a talk that I gave at ASU in 1999. Over the next few days, I’ll be…

"The Edge of Evolution" is still waaaay overpriced at $6.99.

Poor Mike, he seems to have been blindsided by arguments that only bolster what he already believed, and he seems to have been turned away from realizing that reality is what it is, not what he wants.

And I wish I had the power of the "Darwinist conspiracy" to at least suppress all the evidence for intelligent design, even if they can't suppress the voluminous output from intelligent design proponents. The conspiracy is so effective that I have yet to hear any scientific details of what the theory of intelligent design actually is, much less any scientific evidence for it.

Reading the Bible makes atheists

I thing the premises are missing in your syllogism. Here, let me me fix that for you:

Major premise: "Science makes atheists."
Minor premise: "[Degrees in] Reading the 'Bible' make you [competent to discuss biology, physics, and biochemisty] a scientist."
&rArr Conclusion: "Reading the Bible makes atheists."

Now, wasn't that better?

By Torbj�rn Lar… (not verified) on 01 Jul 2008 #permalink

Omnious Appendix D title: "Dealing with Critics of Intelligent Design"

$6.99?! Usually you have to pay twice that much! Time for a road trip to the LEHIGH valley.

Is it bad that I have the Lehigh disclaimer bookmarked so I can go laugh at the guy every once in a while?

By BMatthews (not verified) on 01 Jul 2008 #permalink

Is it bad that I have the Lehigh disclaimer bookmarked so I can go laugh at the guy every once in a while?

Nope - at least I hope not, otherwise I am equally evil...

In my experience, science (more precisely critical thinking upon empirical evidence as opposed to blind faith in revealed dogma) makes many people into atheists. Granted, other fields also encourage critical thinking, but with the exception of law you aren't usually expected to use reason and evidence to ward off the criticism of one's peers.

My faith was untouched by a degrees in physics and math, though, until I decided to reread the Bible for myself. So I'd say points 2 & 3 in the post have some real merit. More to the point, it is interesting that they've taken to discouraging such study.

These two ijuts are truly the Beavis and Butthead of ID Creationism.

Creotard dumbass dipshit, thy name is Billy Boy Dumbski.

I downloaded and read their first chapter of slime.

Barf.

By waldteufel (not verified) on 01 Jul 2008 #permalink

Omnious Appendix D title: "Dealing with Critics of Intelligent Design"

Someone should check to see if it has David S. Springer in the by-line.

*waves at Dave*

Guys! (and ERV). You have to check out the customer tags for the book on AMAZON.

the most popular:

breathtaking inanity (24)
cdesign proponentists (19)
creationism (19)
quackery (14)
assinine (13)
fugly sweater (13)

*SPIT-TAKE!*

6.99$ I wouldn't pay one p (=0.01 GBP) for that crap, its not even good as shit paper.

New internets rulz!!

You are not allowed to mention buxom and brunette (or blond) without providing at least a link to a picture. =P

Love the tags on the Amazon page... heh

BillyD lent authentic sound effects to that Judge Jones video. Oh yes, that was BillyD himself talking or "talking". The cover of of the latest rag out of that stable has BillyD once again, painting himself in a/(the?) corner.

Dembski has been reduced to quoting an episode of Family Guy as an example to support his philosophy.

Family Guy.

It's a freaking cartoon, Dembski!

Oh, but, then again, so is Dembski's philosophy, so I guess it all works out.

You are not allowed to mention buxom and brunette (or blond) without providing at least a link to a picture.

Here you go. Definitely a brunette, but the head shot doesn't allow us to evaluate "buxom".

By carlsonjok (not verified) on 02 Jul 2008 #permalink

...a buxom young brunette named Sean McDowell

Abbie, didn't your old blog have a post that you were the only brunette, uh, "qualified" to speak about science matters to the general public, at least by CNN's standards?

Oh, shameless plug, gang: Christopher Hitchens was recently waterboarded for a magazine article. Seriously. With video. Go here.

1) For the last time can we stop hearing about how ID is all about the science *cough* *cough* and not religion?

2) Any idea what actually motivates people like Dembski? Is the pay for the same old tripe he peddles really that good? Does even he, after all this time, think he has some brilliant scholorly contribution to make to the world? The Templeton Foundation wanted their money back from him.

Comments? Ideas?

Brian

ERV on "WEdge of Cdesignpropentioists" by Mike:
"$6.99 blowjobs"

Ok, its a bargain, but for $6.99 will he spit or swallow?

On second thought, that image is not something I want to pursue further...

By steve murphy (not verified) on 02 Jul 2008 #permalink

Any idea what actually motivates people like Dembski?

My guess is that he likes the feeling his religion (whatever it is) gives him. But he has the intellectual integrity to realize that science contradicts his holy book, so he thinks of anything he can to discredit the conflicting science. Too bad he doesn't apply his intellectual integrity to actual science.

Or maybe he just likes the fame being a well-known figure in the intelligent design movement gives him.

Haha, the tags on Amazon are amazing! I took the liberty of adding a few of my own as well.

Any idea what actually motivates people like Dembski?

This question always gets me. You are asking for a sane and rational explanation for the actions of someone who is not sane and rational.

By Bayesian Bouff… (not verified) on 03 Jul 2008 #permalink

I downloaded the sample chapter and made it about four pages into it before the lies, distortions and down right bullcrap made me so angry I couldn't read on. These people are claiming the moral high ground but seem to have no issue with lying to children. It makes me sick.

These people are claiming the moral high ground but seem to have no issue with lying to children. It makes me sick.

And that, Andrew, sums it all up rather perfectly.

What a steaming pile of schmutz.........

How many science books need to start with "Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible" Oh well, I guess we can say that at least Dembski isn't a KJV onlyist.

Hi all,

I asked their publisher for a review copy so I could write a review of it at Amazon.com, but he's had a change of heart. Guess he realized that I'd be writing a harsh condemnation of Dembski's latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography. Judging from the chapter headings provided in the only - and favorable - review posted so far at Amazon.com, I should have no problem reviewing it, whether I receive a copy or not.

Cheers,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 05 Jul 2008 #permalink

At least its not a complete Denyse O'Leary word salad. It'd actually be well written if it wasn't all wrong. Thats actually a little scary now that I think about it. People are going to READ this.yikes.
On the other hand, his summarization of the naturalistic worldview is kind of close to what at least some of us think, christians are so crazy that they don't even need to distort us to scare them...

Does he actually think the sun is going to last forever and NOT swallow us up like any other star? I've only ever heard lunacy like that from young-earthers. nasty.

John Kwok,

Guess he realized that I'd be writing a harsh condemnation of Dembski's latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography.

Maybe he realized you had largely composed your review before reading the book, as you more or less just admitted. Nobody, not even Dembski, deserves that. As much as it grieves me to side with team Dembski, you were nailed to rights on that unprofessional practice in the past. (What was your lame explanation before?---something about checking it out of some unnamed library...even though no copies had been sent to a library... uh huh. Right.)

I would rather read amusing reviews that trash the book from someone who takes time to read it. You have no credibility.

I absolutely LOVE the title "Green Buttocks" - that alone made my day.

As long as I'm here, I would like to ask - how long shall your image be that of your dog's happy tongue? I miss the sophisticate with the wine glass.

By KillerChihuahua (not verified) on 07 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear Heddie:

Enjoy your membership in the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective. Dembski's publisher realized that mine would be negatively based on my other reviews of Dembski's mendacious intellectual pornography posted at Amazon.com. Anyway, I just posted my review of Dembski's latest mendacious intellectual pornography at Amazon.com, in which I do admit not having read the book, but stating my qualifications as someone trained in paleobiology and evolutionary ecology who could evaluate well at least some of it without having read it beforehand.

John Kwok

By John Kwwok (not verified) on 07 Jul 2008 #permalink

John Kwok,

Enjoy your membership in the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective.

A statement too stupid to comment upon, other than how I just did.

This statement:

in which I do admit not having read the book,

is doublespeak. The correct wording is: "in which this time, having been outed before, I do not lie about having read the book."

I am taken aback by people who are embarrassments to their side of a debate, regardless of whether or not I am aligned with their position. You are such a person, I'm afraid. Unapologetic dishonesty is never an attractive feature.

Hello! First time poster here, but I've read PT for quite some time now.

Question from someone too lazy to do his own research: Is Sean McDowell related to that paragon of tolerance and diversity Josh McDowell? If so, then no act of Sean's short of eating babies in church will surprise me. Although siding with Dembski is kinda low...

Dear Heddie:

Unlike you, I have had a graduate education in paleobiology and evolutionary ecology, so I am entitled to review Dembski and McDowell's latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography. Why? They demonstrate their woeful understanding of the fossil record by concentrating on the so-called "Cambrian Explosion" as though it was the most important event in the history of life on Planet Earth
(As eminent vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero notes in his recently published book, "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters", the "explosion" was actually more like a "slow fuse" since it unfolded over 80 million years of geological time from the latest Precambrian to the early Ordovician. So since Dembski and McDowell have their facts all wrong with the fossil record, then why should you believe anything else they've written in what I - and others - have noted accurately is intellectual child abuse?

I trust you'll continue enjoying your membership in the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective.

Live Long and Prosper (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

John Kwok,

Unlike you, I have had a graduate education in paleobiology and evolutionary ecology, so I am entitled to review Dembski and McDowell's latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography.

No, you are not. Nobody is entitled (in the sense that it would be professional behavior) to review a book if they haven't read it. I'm a nuclear physicist--by your logic I am magically entitled review any nuclear physics book without reading it. Nonsense.

You could say, "I am sure this book is garbage and I am even going to bother reading it." That would be honest. But writing an actual review of a book you haven't read is pond-scum behavior.

And your "review" on Amazon is quite unprofessional--in fact it sucks.

Dear Heddie:

I would be derelict in my understanding of what is - and what isn't - valid science if I saw a favorable review of a book that perpetuates obvious lies, omissions of fact and other serious distortions of published scientific data in a field that I am qualified to comment on, given my graduate education. So for this very reason alone, I am correct in posting a harshly negative review of Dembski's latest published example of mendacious intellectual pornography, but limiting my remarks to his woeful understanding of the fossil record.

Only an IDiot such as yourself would make this rather inane observation:

"And your 'review' on Amazon is quite unprofessional--in fact it sucks."

An inane remark which Mike Heath, R. Ross and a reader from Northern California would strongly disagree with.

Indeed, judging from your latest inane comment, you are so obviously enjoying your membership in the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective.

Peace and Long Life (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

John Kwok,

would be derelict in my understanding of what is - and what isn't - valid science if I saw a favorable review of a book that perpetuates obvious lies, omissions of fact and other serious distortions of published scientific data in a field that I am qualified to comment on, given my graduate education.

Wrong again. You are, if anything, derelict in your duty if you see a favorable review of a book, and even though you are virtually certain that the book is garbage, you don't, as a self-proclaimed expert, read the book and then post a scathing review. This is so obvious, that if you don't see it I can only conclude that you are breathtakingly stupid.

You tactic is now obvious. Write the review, then jump about bragging about how you stuck it to Dembski again. Last time you were discovered as a liar when it was demonstrated that you could not have had access to the book. This time you tried to avoid a repeat of that embarrassment (which would have humbled a greater man) but when you couldn't obtain a copy gratis you decided a preemptive strike admitting that you reviewed it without reading it was the safer course of action--and would still afford you with the opportunity to brag about your prowess.

I reread your review, giving you the benefit of the doubt. It was worse than I remembered. Not because it criticized the book, of which my expectation not having read the book is exceedingly low, but because you can't write and have no concept of how a proper review is supposed to be constructed.

You keep talking about your "graduate education." You mention how qualified you are at every opportunity. "Graduate education" can mean many things. Did yours culminate in a graduate degree?

Dear Heddie:

Wrong again. There are others who have posted negative reviews of books they haven't read - starting with the creator of this blog - simply because they believe that it is their civic duty to do so. Again, I would be derelict in mine if I didn't write a harsh condemnation of Dembski's latest pathetic example of mendacious intellectual pornography - which others over at Panda's Thumb - have observed correctly is intellectual child abuse.

Here's what a reader from Northern California had to say about my review in the comments thread posted after it:

"Excellent review John! Thought I would add a little quote that Dembski made on his web site on June 12:

'What's our strategy. The strategy is multipronged. Let me just give you one prong: WIN THE YOUTH.'

(Here's the entire blog entry: http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/theistic-evolutionist…)

That's right, his strategy is not to write scientific papers, or do research, or develop hypotheses (I suppose it could be another of his 'prongs', but as John has pointed out he's had years and years to do this and so far has shown no intention of doing any actual science). Instead it's purely an evangelistic approach - in fact the sentence above would work just as well for a Christian evangelism campaign, and of course that is no coincidence.

ID's success is measured by polls with the general public and how much people 'believe' in ID, not by how much their ideas are accepted by the scientific community, or whether there are useful predictable & testable results from ID (and so far the score on this is: ZERO). After all, Dembski doesn't need to do any actual research because he already 'knows' the truth, so why bother with pesky and irritating concerns such as observations, data and empircal evidence and all that annoying 'sciency' stuff?

An afterthought: if irreducible complexity is such a definitive sign of Intelligent Design, then why aren't the IDers constantly coming up with new examples? You would think they would be flooding the Intertubes on a daily basis with new examples of IC. Yet, as far as I know, they only have maybe a dozen or two examples (and they've all been refuted) and nothing new has appeared for quite some time...I guess Billy D and his pals are too busy meeting with their PR companies..."

As for my writing skills, several notable writers have praised them.

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear Heddie:

Get your priorities straight. What's reprehensible? My review of a book I haven't read, or the un-Christian acts of one of its authors? For your benefit I am reposting this opening comment in a discussion thread I created at Amazon.com which you've missed.

John Kwok

As for someone who is indeed a genuine liar, thief and con artist extraordinaire, I must nominate my "pal" Bill Dembski; an assessment which many would agree with, including not only Abbie Smith, but also my friend Ken Miller, noted Brown University cell biologist and Jerry Coyne, eminent University of Chicago evolutionary geneticist (whom I had the pleasure of meeting here in New York City at the Rockefeller University evolution symposium on May 1st.). Why?

Here's why:

1) Bill committed the legal equivalent of grand theft larceny against the Dover (PA) school board, by charging them $20,000 for "services rendered" as a potential defense witness, then declining to serve as such when he could not have his private attorney represent him during the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial.

2) Bill had a clip of someone farting associated with his online essay critical of Judge John E. Jones after Jones' historic ruling at the end of the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial.

3)Bill contacted the U. S. Department of Homeland Security two years ago, requesting that they investigate eminent University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka as a "potential bioterrorist".

4) Bill orchestrated a "death threat" campaign against eminent University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka and the Texas Academy of Sciences.

5) Almost exactly one year ago, Bill, along with his fellow intellectually-challenged Uncommon Dissent pals (including Mike Behe) held an online "roasting" of Johns Hopkins biochemist David Levin, simply because Levin had spotted some errors in Behe's "research".

6) Bill made a rather crude, quite despicable, comparison of notable University of Chicago evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne with Herman Munster at Uncommon Dissent last year (Jerry thought that Bill's act was truly a very "low blow".)

7) Bill followed up this bizarre display of infantile behavior with another Uncommon Dissent comparison of distinguished University of California, Berkeley paleobiologist Kevin Padian with Archie Bunker, "rhetorically" asking whether Padian was the "Archie Bunker of evolutionary biology".

8) Bill has admitted at Uncommon Dissent - with ample malicious intent - that he stole a Harvard University cell animation video made by the Connecticut-based video production company XVIVO (This has been noted by others, including Abbie Smith, and David Bolinsky, XVIVO's president, elsewhere online.).

9) Last December, Bill tried to exercise a crude form of censorship against yours truly by asking Amazon.com to delete my harsh, but accurate, review of Bill's latest published example of mendacious intellectual pornography, otherwise known as "The Design of Life" (which I did read, but won't admit how I obtained a copy). He also organized an online smear campaign against me, which IDiot William Wallace has noted in his latest post at Abbie Smith's blog (www.scienceblogs.com/erv).

10) In early May, at Uncommon Dissent, Bill had the gall to whine and to moan about "rich Darwinists" like Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Francisco Ayala and Ken Miller for "making money" off of evolution. He also made the inane observation that we ought to support Intelligent Design since it is a "middle class" idea, whereas evolution is an "upper class" idea. Bill also made the absurd claim that he is a member of the middle class, when the real truth is that he is a graduate of a prestigious Catholic boarding school (Portsmouth Abbey), and had, growing up, a childhood that was far more "upper class" than either mine or Ken Miller's.

So much for honest, decent, "Christian" behavior from devout "Christian" Bill Dembski, right? These aren't the acts of someone who truly abides by Christ's teachings, but rather, Lucifer's.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

John Kwok,

There are others who have posted negative reviews of books they haven't read - starting with the creator of this blog - simply because they believe that it is their civic duty to do so.

If others posted reviews of books they haven't read, then they are equally guilty. Dembski, IIRC, also, at some point, engaged in dishonest behavior on Amazon over the Mark Perakh et. al., anti-ID book. He too is guilty. The "others do it too" defense is not what I'd like to hang my hat on.

Why are you giving me this anti-Dembski sermon?

Dear Heddie:

'Tis obvious to me that you seem more interested in defending the Josef Goebbels of the Intelligent Design Movement (Bill Dembski) than in agreeing with my rhetoric or Abbie Smith's. Neither Abbie nor I need to read mendacious intellectual pornography like Intelligent Design for us to recognize that it is mendacious intellectual pornography.

If you don't want an "anti-Dembski sermon" from me, then start demonstrating that you are no longer worthy of one, by allowing your intellectually-challenged mind to refute finally, at long last, the Discovery Institute's mendacious intellectual pornography.

Live Long and Prosper (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear Heddie:

Are you willing to condone someone like Dembski who is willing to lie, to steal and to commit "frat boy antics" (a harsh assessment from Ken Miller which I concur with), all in the name of Jesus Christ? If you are, then you are a religious hypocrite, willing to sanctify such outrageous conduct, so long as it is perpetuated in Christ's name (Incidentally, I am a Deist and a conservative Republican, not an atheistic Liberal.).

Peace and Long Life (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Joh Kwok,

Are you really so clueless as to conflate condemning you for writing a review of a book you haven't read with supporting the career of the victim of your dishonesty? It seems that you simply cannot grasp that your crime is a crime regardless of whom it is perpetrated against.

And, sorry to burst the bubble of your ignorance, but my anti-Dembski street-creds are well established. And, I would speculate, more credible than yours, given my background.

You are actually quite creepy. If I were Dembski, you'd scare me.

Dear heddie:

Your "anti-Dembski street-creds" are nonexistent to say the least. If they did exist, then I'd see them cited at Panda's Thumb and elsewhere. As for myself, I will only note that at least one prominent ID critic approves of my online conduct against Dembski.

And yes, I do hope that Dembski is "scared of me". I want him to be afraid, very afraid, of me. Why? It's time he receives an ample dose of the "medicine" that he's been dispensing towards his critics for years. Indeed, for his own despicable behavior towards me, he owes me a used black Leica M7 rangefinder camera in near mint to mint condition and several brand new Zeiss Leica M-mount lenses.

Live Long and Prosper (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Hi John.
Dave is a committed Christian and also a respected teacher and physicist. Whilst Dave and I disagree on many things:

Is there design in nature
Is there a god
Is NASCAR more fun than pouring bleach in your eyes

He is quite outspoken against ID, dembski, Behe etc. Please consider Dave was once on the 'top secret ID list-serve' until he got booted for being too sciency. Please swing by 'after the bar closes' to see how he feels about ID, or check his personal blog out.

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=4874fc91…

Rich

mendacious intellectual pornography

Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective

John, John, John. You forgot to mention that you went to Stuyvescant High School. That would have shut Heddle up, fer sure. Heddle is just a product of the inferior Pittsburg, PA city schools.

terryf,

John has been misspelling my name as "heddie" which is fine, but dropping the 'h' in Pittsburgh is the true blasphemy challenge. If you continue to do that, I can't help you. Ever.

Dear terryf and Rich,

Thanks for setting me straight about heddle (I prefer heddie however for obvious reasons, such as his sounding like an IDiot poseur.). Maybe I should impress him by mentioning that at Stuyvesant HS, I overlapped with two people he may have heard of: Brian Greene and Lisa Randall (BTW, I see Lisa has done a fine job tearing Bill Dembski and his noxious ilk to shreds in some of her recent writings.).

Appreciatively yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear terryf and Rich,

Wesley has been looking at this thread too and just sent me an e-mail regarding heddle. Okay, so I have to apologize to heddle for calling him a Discovery Institute IDiot Borg drone. Still, I'm a bit surprised that he would be so hostile towards my review of Dembski's latest piece of mendacious intellectual pornography. Given Dembski's "hospitality" towards heddle, you would think that heddle would be more supportive of my position.

Best,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

No Worries John - I admire your endless enthusiasm for fighting creationism. Dave calls things as he seems them, and is certainly no friend of the DI.

Dear Rich,

Well to paraphrase my college classmate Rich Moody (Yes, THE Rick Moody), he's amazed that I have enough energy to deal with these cretins. So am I. But it's an important civic duty, especially in light of such "pleasant" developments as the signing of the Louisiana Academic Freedom Bill by a fellow colllege alumnus who ought to know better (Thankfully he matriculated there years after I had graduated.) and Comer's dismissal from the Texas department of education.

Appreciatively yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Th is brings us to the main point of this section and the key point
of this chapter: Intelligent design is so important because the evidence for it is compelling, but Darwinists suppress that evidence to promote a naturalistic worldview.

I read the first chapter of this book, "Understanding Intelligent Design." I don't need to read any more to know that this is a very dishonest book.

(BTW, the link in Abbie's post is busted - missing ".pdf" at the end of the URL)

http://www.conversantlife.com/files/resource_downloads/UnderstandingID…

Reading the comments above, I am struck that John Kwok could also read the first chapter and have all the ammo needed for a critical review. I expect I'll be writting one later today.

Dear Gary,

I chose to play to my strengths, as it were, and review only Chapter Four, since it is devoted to the fossil record. Dembski came across as utterly foolish in his treatment of that in his "The Design of Life" and the sole positive reviewer at Amazon.com gave me more than enough ammunition for me to realize that Dembski was making the same foolish errors as before.

Regards,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

MarcusB @ #41

Josh McDowell wrote the forward for this steaming pile. Sean McDowell co-wrote (w/ Josh) Evidence for the Resurrection (snort-which one?).

Sean is also the editor of the Josh McDowell Youth Ministry Handbook.

So I would say there is some relationship, yes, although his website doesn't reference any. As you note, that is not a tick in Sean's favor re: credibility.

Uh oh, I just realixed I used two apostrophes and a colon in my last post. Does that mean Im headed for the penalty box?

Buxom:

1. (of a woman) full-bosomed.
2. healthy, plump, cheerful, and lively.

I'm pretty sure you did not know what this word meant when you used it in reference to Mr. McDowell. How amusing. Making a stupid error while accusing other people of being stupid.

DaveScot,

I know you're here because you linked to this post at UD. Imagine the following: a physicist invents a new theory for why particles have particular masses. Instead of working to advance his theory among his fellow physicists he goes to local school boards to push the teaching of his theory to schoolchildren. Instead of writing papers for scientific journals he writes popular books for lay-people. Instead of doing research he goes on the lecture circuit. Wouldn't this be odd behavior for a scientist? But this is exactly what the top advocates of ID, such as Dembski and Behe, do. How do you explain this? Is it the result of a grand conspiracy against IDists carried out by hundreds of thousands of biologists over more than a century? Really? It seems to me there is a much simpler explanation. ID is a con game.

By Benjamin L Harville (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Funny that someone would complain about Josh McDowell's record on tolerance and diversity in a blog thread that approvingly includes references to "theotards" and $6.99 blowjobs, and statements like these:

Creotard dumbass dipshit, thy name is Billy Boy Dumbski.

"will he spit or swallow?"

"only an IDiot such as yourself"

I could have quoted more, as you undoubtedly recognize

Obviously you think these guys are really wrong, and even so wrong their intelligence is seriously in question. Fine if you see it that way. But while one commenter is talking up tolerance and diversity, much of the rest of this discussion is spewing absolute hatred. Don't you see the disconnect there?

Here's a challenge for you: will you respond to this comment with an attitude of tolerance and diversity, or will the hatred flow?

Oh noooooo! A link from UD! I dunno if the SB servers can handle the extra 5 site hits! LOL!

John Kwok,

Don't be surprised by the cool reception of your non-review. Reviewing a book without reading it is bad practice and heddle was totally justified in nailing you on that.

Now go ahead and label me a DI shill. And feel free to remind me about your successful classmates at Stuy, I'll be impressed.

Observer - Yeah, put me down for some of that flowing hatred.

Thanks!

Olegt,
I was intending to write something similar but you have expressed it better.

John,
You strike me as being a compulsive name-dropper who is more impressed by their own abilities than is justified by the evidence that I have seen to date.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear olegt:

Sorry, but I beg to differ with you. Again, as I noted yesterday, it is part of my civic duty to expose the DI frauds for what they are: crypto-Fascist mendacious intellectual pornographers. If the best way of doing it is to write a review of a book that I haven't read, PROVIDED that I employ those relevant aspects of my education that are appropriate, then I shall do it. But, to be perfectly honest, it is something I have done rarely at all.

As for being "impressed" about my "successful classmates at Stuy", then maybe you ought to remind the Josef Goebbels of Intelligent Design - my "buddy" Bill Dembski - that his credentials are quite impressive too (It's funny, but I've heard more logical reasoning - even though I strongly disagree with his politics - from someone who never attended high school - actor and writer Malachy McCourt (whose brother Francis is a certain well-known bestselling Irish-American memoirist and a former teacher of mine at Stuy) - than I have ever read or heard from my "buddy" Bill Dembski.). In plain English, what does this mean? Maybe credentials aren't as impressive as how one uses them, right?

I am willing to bet that Abbie Smith - even though she never attended the elite schools which Bill and I graduated from - will be a much better scientist than Bill can ever possibly hope to be, so long as he remains deluded by his advocacy of Intelligent Design. Care you join me in this wager?

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Observer -

I second J-Dog's request, and I'll give you yet another.

I am looking forward to attending Bill Dembski's funeral. With any luck, Christ will call him home soon via natural means.

Live Long and Prosper (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear Richard,

The most "compulsive name droppers" I've come across are the Uncommon Dissent DI IDiot Borg drones like BarryA and DaveScot. I don't think I qualify remotely.

I'm willing to make the same wager with you regarding Abbie Smith's scientific abilities that I have made with olegt. Care to join me?

Respectfully yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

If the best way of doing it is to write a review of a book that I haven't read, PROVIDED that I employ those relevant aspects of my education that are appropriate, then I shall do it.

Usually, reading a book is another educational step that is considered relevant, nay even requisite, for reviewing it.

Thank you for the good wishes, anyway. May you live long and prosper also.

Dear Observer:

Perhaps you ought to enlighten Abbie Smith too, since she's reviewed Dembski's two most recently published examples of mendacious intellectual pornography ("The Design of Life" and "Understanding Intelligent Design") without actually reading it.

And then there are those who read a book, like, for example, Ken Miller's "Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul" and somehow miss the two key points of his book, which are as follows:

1) Thanks to ID's militant promotion, we are indeed in a battle for America's scientific and technological soul.

2) If we do take the claims of ID advocates like Dembski and Behe seriously, then can we assert that ID is a valid scientific alternative to contemporary evolutionary theory that does a much better job in explaining the structure and history of Planet Earth's biodiversity?

If you read the reviews posted at Amazon.com, then you'll note that only a handful picked up on and discussed adequately both key points of Ken's book.

So by not reading "Understanding Intelligent Design", it doesn't follow automatically that I don't understand what Dembski and McDowell are trying to accomplish. Believe me, I understand completely, which is why my review is entitled, "A Sterling Example of Intellectual Child Abuse".

Peace and Long Life (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

John,

The message from heddle, Rich, Richard Simons and me is simple: the ends don't justify the means. Make of that what you will.

Why does John Kwok remind me of John A Davison?

By Benjamin L Harville (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

John,

1. You "reviewed" Dembski's book without reading it.

2. You jumped on David Heddle before bothering to learn about his actual position re Dembski and ID.

3. Your response to Richard Simons' criticism of your name-dropping is essentially to say "Oh yeah? They're even worse at Uncommon Descent!"

4. You reflexively label those who disagree with you as "DI Idiot Borg drones".

Why does this irrational behavior strike you as an appropriate response to the irrationality of Dembski and the DI?

Dear olegt,

Sometimes the ends do justify the means. Unfortunately, this is one of the points which historian Niall Ferguson has emphasized in his recent book "War of the World" and the television documentary miniseries from which it is based.

Whatever abuses I may be guilty of pale in comparison to those employed frequently by Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers Mike Behe, Bill Dembski, Jonathan Wells and their fellow noxious peers. Maybe that's something which you, Heddle and the others ought to bear in mind in the future.

Regards,

John

P. S. You wouldn't happen to be the same Oleg I knew back in high school?

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear keiths,

I suggest you read my latest posts to observer and olegt before jumping to conclusions.

As for my term "Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective", it is an apt description for those who are intellectually-challenged, such as the frequent Uncommon Dissent posters and others of their ilk whom I've encountered, all too often, at Amazon.com.

Am surprised you're not offended by my description of ID as "mendacious intellectual pornography" too; it is truly an apt description of it.

Respectfully yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

I just had an entertaining thought. What if Bill Dembski actually said something sensible in one of his books, and lots of less prejudiced people were reading it, but others like John Kwok didn't even know it was there?

It would be like having that same secret agenda that the DI has been accused of, but (here's the hilarious part) it would be just as public as it could possibly be! Everyone would know about it except the people who think they ought to be trying to stand against it.

Dawkins and PZ have insisted it's unnecessary to know what theologians think--they can attack religion by means of derision. John Kwok doesn't need to know what Dembski thinks--all he has to do is mock him. Hey, the more this keeps up, the less relevant, and the less effective, Kwok et al. are going to be!

John Kwok, may your tribe increase, for the good of Intelligent Design proponents everywhere.

@ John Kwok

Sorry to pile on, but I too think you should tone down the pompousness. I undermines any reputation you may have acquired as a serious reviewer.

@ John Kwok

Sorry to pile on, but I too think you should tone down the pompousness. I undermines any reputation you may have acquired as a serious reviewer.

P.S. to my 12:04 pm comment:

David Heddle, I guess you're not totally an ID supporter. If you were, this is what I'd say to you:

Shame, shame, shame on you for trying to help John Kwok see the error of his ways. He's far less trouble the way he is.

Dear Matt,

Very funny, but I believe in these words: "Know thine enemy". That means reading his work and understanding his mind set. Unfortunately for Bill Dembski, he's been so prolific, that one only needs to read a select few of his publications in order to realize just how deluded he is. It's too bad he hasn't followed my advice and devoted his time towards writing a textbook on Klingon Cosmology. He might find it a lot more profitable than peddling his mendacious intellectual pornography.

I also believe in injecting a bit of levity where possible, so if I seem a bit pompous to you, then you obviously don't get it. Thankfully others, including Abbie Smith and J-Dog, among others, apparently do.

Best,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

I'm willing to make the same wager with you regarding Abbie Smith's scientific abilities that I have made with olegt. [i.e. that Abbie Smith - even though she never attended the elite schools which Bill and I graduated from - will be a much better scientist than Bill can ever possibly hope to be, so long as he remains deluded by his advocacy of Intelligent Design.] Care to join me?

I fail to see the point of this wager, unless it is to give you another excuse to bring up the 'elite' schools you attended. I have no doubt whatsoever that Abbie is a better scientist than Dembski.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear Richard,

You're as bad as the IDiots in indulging in quote mining. I think the points I was making is not WHERE Bill Dembski and I have graduated from, but rather, what we have done with our education, and that Abbie has demonstrated already that she will be a much better scientist than either Bill or myself, even though she hasn't graduated from the same elite schools.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

You're right about one thing, John. Somebody here may be having a little difficulty recognizing a bit of levity when he sees it ;-) .

That same somebody may be displaying a little trouble recognizing other things as well. The term, I think, is "personal blind spots." When everybody tells you the same thing and you keep disagreeing, you have to consider the possibility they're seeing something genuine that you are missing in yourself.

But oops--there I go offering you advice. Same strategic error Heddle made. :-)

I'm angry and upset the world doesn't understand me. Please ignore my sociopathic threats to society. Please realize that my degrees are like, so totally friggen awesome they deserve to allow me to review books that I don't know how to read, becuze, well, dey don't com in awedio format.

John cock.

Dear Science Avenger:

You're so friggin' awesome too. Maybe ought to cool it, since the ID trolls have linked in.

Darth

By Darth Vader (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

DaveScot:

If you are still here, on UD you wrote, "No one needs to know more about evolution than the microevolution which accounts for bacterial and viral drug resistance. It doesn't matter one tiny bit in any practical way whether birds were created 6000 years ago or descended from dinosaurs millions of years ago. If either of those concepts offends people then just drop them both out of public education and no one will be the poorer for it."

This is completely at odds with what Dembski, whose site you are posting on, says in his latest book. Read the excerpt for yourself. According to Dembski (and McDowell), ID is all about bolstering faith in Jesus.

Also, if you believe evolution is a trivial issue, why do you bother posting about it?

By Benjamin L Harville (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Benjamin -

DaveScot is the same UD sycophant - I like Kwok's term of Discovery Institute IDiot Borg drone - who was bragging about his three star Amazon.com review of Behe's "The Edge of Evolution". Surprising, isn't it, that he's still allowed to post there.

BTW, he's issued Abbie a challenge about having Kwok as one her allies. So my advice to all is to realize that the UD crowd is looking in at this thread.

Darth

By Darth Vader (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Wow, Dave, that takes the cake! By the same token we should get rid of astronomy: who cares whether the Universe is 13 billion or just 6 thousand years old? And physics, who needs physics? Basket weaving for all!

As usual, the ID haters excel at hypocrisy, name-calling, and ad hominem attacks -- and very little else. With the exception of a few that are able to recognize and point out the silliness associated with reviewing a book you haven't read, the rest of you (particularly Kwok) are simply becoming more and more irrelevant (a point made by Matt). PLEASE continue this behavior. It really does help our cause. To ASSUME that random chance can account for EVERYTHING is a blatant philosophical exercise bearing very little resemblance to science. Unless you've got real evidence regarding the origins of life, how specifically complex bio-mechanisms "evolved" (as opposed to unfalsifiable fairy tale explanations), and real answers to why this universe exists with its life-affirming properties (as opposed to unfalsifiable fairy tales like string theory), ASSUMPTION and BIAS is all you have. Until you get real answers to all these nasty questions, keep an open mind. Be willing to admit you don't KNOW everything. Keep researching. Keep considering alternatives. Exercise a little intellectual integrity. You guys have such a deep-seated fear of creationists (something I share a bit of myself) that you CAN'T be objective when looking at ID (due to your unnessary conflation of ID and creationism). Keep up the good work.

Dear Mike T.:

Generations of evolutionary biologists around the world recognize that evolution is not a "random" process as you've described. Darwin and Wallace were the first to recognize that evolution via natural selection works non-randomly. As for all of us acting as though we are irrelevant - myself included - then you ought to check out PubMed, GeoRef and other online resources devoted to published scientific literature which supports evolution and - where it is appropriate - refutes Intelligent Design creationism.

Am sorry to disappoint you Mike T., but everyone from Occidental College vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero to University of Chicago evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne and last, but not least, former journalist Lauri Lebo, recognizes that Intelligent Design is merely the latest, most virulent, flavor of creationism.

Hope you continue enjoying your membership in the Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective and your ongoing espousal of the mendacious intellectual pornography that is Intelligent Design.

Respectfully submitted,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear Mike T.:

Please tell your Uncommon Dissent pals that I am listed at www.scholar.google.com, but under J Kwok. Have at least one, possibly two, citations there.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

John Kwok,

You sound like someone who is pretending to have expertise in areas they don't. Do you have a graduate degree in some area of science, if so what is it? Also, what are you currently employed doing? The reason I asked is that you seem to rest on your credentials and not on your arguments.

By questioner (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

You sound like someone who is pretending to have expertise in areas they don't.

How would you know? Dont' YOU have to have some expertise, hm?

Hm. The bar is not very high for Uncommon Descent, is it?

John, in reference to your 3:10 comment, thank you.

Thank you for informing us of what we never knew. We didn't know that natural selection was an aspect of evolution, we didn't know that Darwin and Wallace were instrumental in helping discover that, and we certainly never heard that some scientists and media types think ID is a form of creationism.

Thanks for that information. It comes as quite a blow. I'm fairly devastated. Now that you've explained that, why, we're going to have to go right back to the drawing board and start all over again! I mean, just think of all the time we've wasted, since no one was kind enough to clue us in earlier.

Thanks, actually, for sticking to the easy, obvious stuff, so we can work on substantive matters without having to worry about you noticing. It's kind of like I said at 12:04 today. We don't mind if you don't bother paying attention to the real issues.

Its like a cornucopia of TARD on the internet today.

Lovely.

*goes to get the wet-dry vac*

I tend to agree with Heddle, et al., about reviewing a book you haven't read (I once had a buddy who claimed Gladiator was his favorite movie and then proceeded to tell us about how he was going to finally go see it the next weekend - he got no end of torment for that stupidity), but forgetting that, I found the phrase "mendacious intellectual pornography" 15 times in John Kwok's posts alone. I'm not really a fan of Dembski, Behe, or the ID movement in general, but I'm also not a big fan of awkward catch phrases ("Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective" is equally absurd). It seems to me a sign of poor intelligence - or at least creativity, to be more charitable - to simply repeat the same phrases (especially when they show signs of chronic unoriginality) over and over ad nauseum to criticize one's opponents (especially when doing so solely on the basis of disagreement, reasonable or otherwise).

But then again, I'm probably just a member of the Discover Institute IDiot Borg Collective who implicitly supports the mendacious intellectual pornography of Dembski, et al., right?

To ASSUME that random chance can account for EVERYTHING

No one does assume that, it's one of the lies creationists made up to blame science for their stupidity.

Dawkins and PZ have insisted it's unnecessary to know what theologians think--they can attack religion by means of derision.

Why, no, we've never said that. We've said that we've read what the theologians say, and it's all vacuous fluff that is unsupported by any evidence. Perfect example: listen to this conversation with John Lennox. There's your clever theology.

Hello,

In a heated debate such as this, it is important to remember that Abbie Smith is a totally hot babe.

Carry on.

hmmm... I'm not sure I agree with the phrase mendacious intellectual pornography being thrown out over and over. Why must you degrade pornography so by using it as a comparison point for ID literature (and I use that term loosely)?

And yes, I did just come here to say that. Also that the rest of the many internets would appreciate it if Mr. Kwok would introduce some more variety into his writing. (For example, consider references to IDiots as mindless drone ants, or cybermen, or lemmings...)

By Bouncing Bosons (not verified) on 10 Jul 2008 #permalink

Some more opinions on Mr. Kwok's behavior here.

Step 1 in reviewing a book is reading the book. A book review is a considered evaluation of a book, for others to use in deciding whether or not to buy it and read it.

One may well be justified in holding and expressing the opinion that, based on the author's past performance, a book is likely to be a pile of crap with nothing new and nothing worthwhile and not worth anyone's time and money. In fact, in Dembski's case, I agree that this is pretty much a sure bet.

Nonetheless, presenting that opinion as a book review is an unnecessarily weak and non-authoritative position that does a disservice to one's audience and to the side of reason and science. Giving a "book review" that is not based on reading the book misrepresents your expertise on the book and presents opinions that are at least theoretically subject to revision because they are based on incomplete information.

FYI, here's the review in question. I had every valid reason to write it.

John Kwok

"Understanding Intelligent Design" is intellectual child abuse aimed at the hearts and minds of children who lack ample appreciation and understanding as to what constitutes valid mainstream science; nothing more and nothing less. It is a well-written polemic co-written by Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Bill Dembski and a "Christian" educator, Sean McDowell, who claim that Intelligent Design is truly a valid scientific alternative not only to contemporary evolutionary theory, but indeed, all of mainstream science, period. This is the rare occasion where I am reviewing a book here at Amazon.com that I have not yet read, but their publisher, Mr. David Bartlett, has reneged on his promise to send me gratis a review copy. So I am writing this review not only to demonstrate that I - as someone trained in paleobiology and evolutionary ecology, can review at least part of it without actually reading it - but more importantly, to advise potential purchasers that they would be making a serious mistake by acquiring this book for their adolescent children, thinking that it was presenting a "valid scientific alternative" to contemporary evolutionary theory.

In Chapter Four of "Understanding Intelligent Design", Dembski and McDowell contend that there is a serious problem with the so-called "Cambrian Explosion", since hard part skeletonized multicellular life seems to have appeared "suddenly" in the Cambrian Period, more than 530 million years ago. However, their inane assertion flies in the face of excellent paleontological and stratigraphic research done by paleobiologists and biostratigraphers for generations, especially those in the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China (Since both countries possess the best exposures of late Precambrian through Cambrian sedimentary sequences.). As eminent American vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero has stated in his recent book, "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters", the "Cambrian Explosion" should be regarded instead as a "Cambrian Slow Fuse", since the appearance of hard part skeletonized multicellular organisms occurred gradually over a period of eighty million years, from the late Precambrian through the early Ordovician. Moreover, overall taxonomic diversity was relatively low, with at most, 60 genera recognized from the middle Cambrian "Burgess Shale Fauna".

Dembski and McDowell have made the same breathtakingly inane observations about the "Cambrian Explosion" uttered by fellow 20th Century Fundamentalist Protestant Christian creationists like Henry Morris and Duane Gish. Indeed, their published remarks merely offer more evidence that they should be regarded as creationists, period; an astute observation which Prothero has noted for Michael Behe, whom he refers to as an "Intelligent Design creationist" in his book. If you want a realistic depiction of the fossil record as important evidence for the fact of evolution, then you will be much better off acquiring Donald Prothero's "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters".

Much to my amazement, Chapter Four of Dembski and McDowell's latest published example of intellectual pornography, lacks any discussion about mass extinctions. Such a discussion is truly important given the facts that mass extinctions have altered fundamentally the structure and diversity of Earth's biosphere not just once, but at least 7 times. Moreover, each of these instances saw a sudden drop in marine biodiversity of at least 40 to nearly 90 percent (The terminal Permian mass extinction that occurred 245 million years ago, involved a loss of more than 80 percent of Earth's marine biodiversity.). Instead, they are, like other creationists, fixated on the Cambrian "explosion" as though that was the most important event in the history of life on Planet Earth.

From a purely philosophical perspective, one must ask how efficient an "Intelligent Designer" would be in "designing" life, especially after realizing that this new "creation" would be decimated by mass extinctions not just once, but indeed, more than 7 times throughout the history of life on Earth in the past 600 million years. Indeed, this would be a rather illogical means of having an "Intelligent Designer" devote so much time in "designing" this life.

The University of California, Berkeley's evolution website has this fascinating portrait of University of Chicago marine invertebrate paleobiologist David Jablonski and the important research he has done in trying to understand mass extinctions:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/jablonski_01

Jablonski's work is quite important simply because he was among the first - if not the first - to recognize a fundamental distinction between "background" (normal) extinctions and mass extinctions.

"Understanding Intelligent Design" also lacks any credible discussion of the significance of the discovery of paleontological "missing links" in order to understand the evolutionary history of lineages as diverse as avian dinosaurs, whales, horses and fishes, for example. Recently fellow Amazon.com customer Tim Beazley has noted succinctly:

"This just in: Apparently scientists have discovered yet another fossil in the fish-tetrapod sequence.

See: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7199/abs/nature06991.html

This raises the question: If evolution is as useless as the ID-iots keep telling us, then why is it that evos are making all the discoveries like the above, not ID-iots?"

Alas, I could not have said it better myself.

For nearly two decades Intelligent Design advocates like Bill Dembski and his scientifically-trained Discovery Institute colleagues Mike Behe and Jonathan Wells have had ample opportunity to present their Intelligent Design ideas in the rational marketplace known as mainstream science by submitting their work for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals, demonstrating how they have developed hypotheses, tested and refined them, and yielding publishable results in support of their ideas. They have not yet done so, but rather, instead, have engaged in substantial public relations work via lectures, media appearances, and the publication of books like this one in support of what eminent Columbia University philosopher of science Philip Kitcher has referred charitably as "dead science" while yours truly has noted repeated here at Amazon.com and elsewhere that Intelligent Design is merely mendacious intellectual pornography. So should you, the potential purchaser, acquire this book for your school-age children? Sadly, the answer ought to be all too obvious: NO.

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

Here's my review* of John Kwok's review:

John Kwok's review of "Understanding Intelligent Design" is a well-written polemic against the latest attempt by "creationists" to indoctrinate impressionable children against the fact of Darwinian evolution. While Mr. Kwok has not read the book, he winsomely and tactfully debunks the arguments of Dembski which, in his evidently clairvoyant wisdom, Kwok knows and has represented fairly, time and time again.

*I confess that I have not read Kwok's review of "Understanding Intelligent Design."

So ERV is definitely a complicated blog. Im sarcastic and hide jokes in links, and you actually have to click on the links to get the lolz.

However, its amusing that people have decided to make this comment thread about 'JON KWAK HAS NUT RED DIS BUK!', when the whole point of my post is:

Check out the first chapter, available for download for free online! It alone contains mind-blowing, REVOLUTIONARY ideas like:
* Degrees in 'Bible' make you competent to discuss biology, physics, and biochemisty
* Science makes atheists
* Reading the Bible makes atheists
* There is no difference between philosophical and methodological naturalism
* Public schools indoctrinate children with atheism
* Darwin = Propaganda
* All scientists are atheists
* Science and Christianity are at war
* Only Christians have A Purpose(TM)
* Evil is the result of The Fall
* "Redemption is found in Jesus Christ"
* Stupid Evilutionists believe we can solve our own problems (I shit you not, page 19/20)
* Stupid Evilutionists believe one day the Sun will burn up the Earth
* Buddhist believe something else, and we dont care
* Darwinism is a religion
* Darwin is in 'Lilo & Stitch'
* Darwinism is false AND an ideology
* Gratuitous reference to Marx
* ANTHONY FLEW CONVERTED!!!!!
* The world looks designed
* Darwinism cant explain INSECTS + BIRDS
* Bacterial flagellum
* 'Just so story"
* Judge Jones is a poopy head
WOW! I mean WOW! I havent seen any of those arguments before! Man, Dembski and McDowell TOTALLY blind sided us with this hammer!

Creationists have no new arguments.

There is no reason to read 'Understanding Intelligent Design' if youve read 'Design of Life'. There is no reason to read 'Design of Life' if you have read the Answers in Genesis website within the past decade.

Its the same shit with a different title and with green buttocks on the cover.

But by all means, folks, keep bashing Kwok, when you all cant be bothered to read a fucking eight sentence post.

Does anyone know what John Kwok's undergrad and grad degrees are in? He claims he has revelant ones but remains ambigous when he talks about it. Does anyone have background info that could clear it up? ERV?

Also, Sorry ERV, it does look like this thread has strayed from your original intent with the introduction of book review tangent.

By questioner (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear questioner:

I possess bachelor's degrees in geology-biology and history. I also have master's degrees in biology and geology. So, as you can see, I am well qualified to comment on Dembski's gross omissions, distortions, and outright lies about the fossil record.

What are your qualifications, you sanctimonious IDiot?

Meanwhile, I trust you'll continue enjoying your Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective membership. It's a membership that's been obviously well-earned.

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

ERV, don't be so...teleological. I have greatly enjoyed the evolution of this conversation.

Dear tho1138 -

You must have missed an earlier post in which I noted that one must "KNOW THINE ENEMY". In other words, I try to read as much of Dembski's mendacious intellectual pornography as I can, merely so I can anticipate inane comments from his zealous IDiot sycophants like questioner and yourself.

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

Once again, Kwok, your clairvoyance is astounding. You were able to conclude that I am a zealous, IDiotic, sycophant after just one comment. For the record, I am neither zealous, nor idiotic, nor sycophantic. One thing I am, though, is familiar with rational argumentation. That your comments are nothing more than repeated hyperbole (ID is "mendacious intellectual pornography" and ad hominem attacks indicates a VERY deep insecurity. A person with more confidence that the evidence supported their position would be calmly presenting that evidence, not resorting to name calling and personal attacks, an observation that applies to ID supporters as well. But then again, perhaps I'm nothing more than a memeber of the "Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective" (of course, if you knew anything about the Discovery Institute, you'd know that they are a conservative thinktank: they are more likely to be fascists than collectivists).

Dear tho1138 -

Am actually a firm adherent of the "Carl Flygare" school of argumentation over at Amazon.com. He's persuaded me that it's absolutely pointless and hopeless to argue with TARDS like yourself (Me, I prefer the more diplomatically-worded phrase, "intellectually-challenged".). Anyway, when I have a friend like Ken Miller (OOPS, sorry creo thought police but I'm name dropping again here.....) tell me privately that he thinks Mike Behe ought to write a textbook on Klingon biochemistry, then I must be really onto something when I refer to a "Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective" and to Intelligent Design as "mendacious intellectual pornography" (a harsh assessment which AMNH anthropologist and author Richard Milner agrees with - and oh, so sorry, I'm name dropping again).

When you're ready to come out of your cesspool shared with the likes of Bill Dembski, Denyse O'Leary, and DaveScot, then maybe I'll talk to you in a more reasonable way.

Have a nice day TARD!!!!!

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

That your comments are nothing more than repeated hyperbole and ad hominem attacks indicates a VERY deep insecurity. A person with more confidence that the evidence supported their position would be calmly presenting that evidence, not resorting to name calling and personal attacks.

Dear tho1138 -

Ask my friends who know me well whether I have a "VERY deep insecurity". Their laughter would fill Yankee Stadium. As for your "a person with more confidence" shtick, maybe if you tried to read carefully my Amazon.com reviews of Dembski's mendacious intellectual pornography and of Miller's and Dawkins' books, then perhaps you'd realize that I am "calmly presenting that evidence".

Otherwise, I don't have much time to waste on a sucker like you.

Hehehehehehehe!!!!!

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

*gingerly steps around the Little Green Buttocks brouhaha*

Rich @58 wrote:

Dave calls things as he seems them, and is certainly no friend of the DI.

Point of information, if I may. Why is Prof. Heddle one of the Discovery institute's "Dissent from Darwinism" signatories?

Dear James,

Thanks. That's news to me. I am aware that Heddle had a major "falling out" with Dembski back in 2005, and has been - according to what I have heard from Abbie Smith and Wesley Elsberry - a harsh critic of his. So I have to wonder as to why Heddle would agree still be listed on the Discovery Institute's "Dissent from Darwinism" petition.

Appreciatively yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

James-- Lots of people were tricked into signing it, and asked to have their names taken off after DI made their intentions known. The DI refuses to acknowledge their requests.

James F,

Yes, it is definitely time to change the topic. Here is the story behind that. I've explained it several times, you must have missed it. You might not consider it an explanation, but it's all I got.

Not sure exactly when, maybe 2002 or 2003 I was asked by the DI to sign. At least two things led to my signing: 1) I recognized the statement was void of actual substance. That should have been a warning that the reason to collect signatures on a meaningless statement would be for political purposes, but I was stupid. 2) I was, I'm embarrassed to admit, flattered to be asked. I was out of academia and research at that point, and it somehow made me feel like a professor again. I don't know why. And I didn't know about the Wedge document, etc. I simply thought a group of scientists/Christians like myself wanted me to join them, so I did.

For a year or so after that I was a cheerleader. Then I started to dig deeper, do a lot of reading. I started blogging about the need for real science in ID, and then as John correctly stated I had a major falling out.

That's it, If that's not good enough for you, I don't care.

Abbie,

That merely shows you - and I have to agree with tho1138 on this - that the Discovery Institute really operates as a crypto-Fascist totalitarian organization. If they truly respected people's liberties, then they would have honored the requests of those signatories wishing to have their names removed from this petition.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

Heddle,

Thanks for enlightening us (And I do mean this without any sarcasm.). Although our motives may differ, I hope you can at least acknowledge my own efforts in fighting the DI as much as I have been made aware of yours courtesy of both Abbie and Wesley's information (At the very least, I think you owe Abbie and me an apology for your Jodie Foster / John Hinckley comment which you posted elsewhere at anti-evolution.org. Our friendship doesn't even remotely resemble that, for heaven's sake.).

Sincerely yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

Heddle,

Let me take this opportunity to apologize to you for calling you a "Discovery Institute IDiot Borg drone". Unfortunately, you sounded just like one and I jumped to conclusions immediately. Incidentally, I have made this very observation to both Abbie and Wesley in a private e-mail that I sent to them earlier today.

Regards,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

*whew!*

Im glad you two are cool now, and I must apologize to Heddle for just flying off the handle at AtBC, and not being direct with him. If it makes you feel better, Heddle, I do this to Orac all the time.

Since Im an April Child, I forget not everyone is psychic :P

Abbie,

No problem. You remind me of my sister, and I mean that as a compliment, since she's the brilliant one in the family. Her birthday is nine days after yours.

Cheers,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

#124

Prof. Heddle,

I greatly appreciate your candid explanation. Indeed, I missed your prior explanations, as I'm relatively new to scienceblogs. I was honestly curious and meant nothing negative by it. I know, as Abbie noted, that once the DI gets your signature they just keep it on.

Now that I've got a hold of you, though, I'd like to digress and ask you a trivial point: what is the significance of the macron over the scarlet A in your Panda's Thumb avatar? Just curious. Thanks!

James F,

The bar over the top is the mathematical symbol for "anti" or "opposite." For example, in physics a p represents a proton, a while a p with a bar on top is an antiproton. Thus, in a double negative sense, I am declaring that I am an anti-a-theist, or the opposite of an atheist. That is, a theist.

Ahhh, now I understand. I knew it wasn't the statistical mean of atheism, at least! :-)

Since Im an April Child, I forget not everyone is psychic :P

Aaahhhh... the woo of ERV in full display... ;-)

John Kwok,

Thanks for answering my question about your degrees. My suspicion was incorrect then, I apologize for that. What led to my suspicion was how you potrayed the cambrian explosion in your review. Maybe I am misreading what you intend it to mean, but you say and seem to imply that the cambrian explosion (CE) took place over 80my. Are you saying this reflects the spread of research opinion on the matter or are you making the more limited point that one prominent researcher views it that way? Also, are you saying the CE has not been and is not currently an evolutionary difficulty?

Thanks for responding and btw my bachelor of science degree from Purdue Univ. with a heavy background in math, geology, astronomy and have for the past 8yrs continued to independently study senior-graduate level textbooks about them and biology.

By questioner (not verified) on 12 Jul 2008 #permalink

Dear questioner,

Don Prothero has summarized what is known about the diversification of metazoans from the late Precambrian to early Ordovician. This is based on decades of research by paleontologists, stratigraphers, and other geologists working in the former Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, Canada (primarily Newfoundland and, of course, British Columbia, where the original Burgess Shale fossils were found) and Australia. Now, as I did note in my Amazon.com review of "Understanding Intelligent Design", the best exposures for looking at the entire sedimentary sequence from the late Precambrian through the early Ordovician are in Eurasia, within the boundaries of the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Therefore, it isn't surprising that Russian and Chinese scientists have made most of our important contributions towards our understanding of this particular interval in Earth's history, especially from the 1970s onwards. While it is true that metazoan body plans did emerge over a period of 10 to 20 million years from the late Precambrian into the early and middle Cambrian, the actual taxonomic diversity was rather low, with no more than tens of genera with a few species within each genus. So for these reasons, I have to concur with Don Prothero's assessment of the "Cambrian Explosion" as a "Cambrian Slow Fuse" (Incidentally, his specialty is the evolutionary history of rhinos, not the Cambrian metazoan fauna itself, so his assessment is a valid and insightful one.).

Regards,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 12 Jul 2008 #permalink

So I'm desperately disappointed there isn't actually going to be a green buttocks on a new ID tome.

John Kwok,

I agree - that range of cambrian explosion 10-20 my is a reasonable one (anywhere from 6 - slightly over 20 my has been supported in the literature). The explosion itself is usually anchored around 530 mya with extensions slightly before and ending at the beginning of the middle cambrian (just younger than 520 mya).

The challenge of the explosion that has been the center of so much research is the existence of many abrupt and diverse representation of soft and skeletonized phyla bodyplans. Only skelentonized phyla absent is Bryozoa which doesnt make an entrance until beginning of the Ordovician which is what Prothero must be bracketing as the end date in his skeletonized arrangement.

Simon Conway Morris, I think, was the first to use the term 'slow fuse' in research discussing Late Neoproterozoic. The minute and questionable affinity of nearly all of this type of fauna save for possible sponge and cnidarian like examples has preplexed researchers. Finding strained stem examples of the rest of Cambrian phyla has not met with success. Prothero must be thinking of the weakly skeletonized forms of cloudina and other tube, or cone type fossils for his start date in his arrangement.

Sources are pre/cambrian researchers include: Valentine, Knoll, Conway Morris, Erwin, Chen, Xiao. Valentine has a good summary volume of the latest.

By questioner (not verified) on 15 Jul 2008 #permalink

questioner:

No, it's not only Prothero. He's not an invertebrate paleobiologist, so he's relying upon work by Conway Morris, Valentine, Erwin and Knoll (By Chen, I hope you don't mean Paul Chien, who is a "biologist" and Discovery Institute fellow teaching at the University of San Francisco.). I would also refer you to work done by Runnegar and Seilacher as other important researchers on this time interval; in fact, would probably rank them alongside Conway Morris, Knoll, Valentine and Erwin in their importance.

Regards,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 15 Jul 2008 #permalink

Hi John,

The Chen I am referring to is J.Y. Chen who has done a lot of research particularly with the Chengjiang fauna. He has too many to cite here but you can find them with a quick search. He has also worked on Late Neoproterozoic fossils.

Thanks for the mention of Runnegar and Seilacher. I have heard of them before. Seilacher is known for Late NeoProterozoic fauna that he named Vendobiota and worked on early Cambrian I believe. Runnegar as well worked in the similar fossil time frames as Seilacher.

I listed those researchers those who were prominent and that came to mind and whose information I was using for my synopsis. It's definitely not exhaustive so I'm not implying because they didn't make the list they didn't contribute; definitely not :).

I did a search on the USF website for the Chien you referred to. You are correct - he is a biology prof; has 2 BS degress in Biology and Chemistry and a Ph.d in Marine Biology.

Thanks for the conversation and unless you have a question I'll let this thread end after reading what you post next.

By questioner (not verified) on 17 Jul 2008 #permalink

Hi questioner,

Glad to be of assistance. IMHO, the most important recent researchers within this time interval have been Seilacher, Runnegar, Conway Morris, Valentine and Erwin. I believe that there's been too, important work by several Russians, including one named Fedonkin.

As for James W. Valentine, he's on my list of the five most important American invertebrate paleontologists since 1950; the others include Norman D. Newell, John Imbrie (a college professor of mine), David M. Raup and Stephen J. Gould. Valentine literally "created" the field of evolutinary paleoecology, and has been one of our most original thinkers.

Regards,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 17 Jul 2008 #permalink