Hilarity in the recent ID creationism escapades

Here's a hot prospect for the Discovery Institute: Fred Sigworth, a professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale. Snap him up, quick! He'll fit in perfectly! He gave a talk to the Yale Christian Fellowship which sounds like it was hilarious.

"Being a Christian is good preparation for work as a scientist, and science can help prepare you for being a Christian," he said.

Oh? How does faith help you be a better scientist?

Sigworth said that both religion and science require working with incomplete data…

That's a revelation right there. Science does require working with incomplete data, and religion requires working with no data at all. Therefore, religion must be more powerful than science! I am converted! Hallelujah!

OK, seriously, it sounds like a very silly talk by yet another gomer striving to invent rationalizations for his ridiculous religion. No news there.

Wait…how does that qualify someone to be a fellow of the Discovery Institute? Isn't ID a secular theory?

Not if you listen to Bill Dembski's Q & A last night…where he said, "I've got plenty of ulterior religious motive, I'd like to see ID succeed because of my Christian background and beliefs." In addition, it sounds like not only did a professor get up and rip him apart on the flagellum, but the audience was laughing at poor Dembski. That's what we need more of: the creationists getting laughed off the stages at their propaganda ops.

ERV was also at the Q & A, and recorded the audio. We'll have to check later and see if she's put anything up on it … although I'm a little concerned about the sound quality. It sounds like she might have been laughing hysterically the whole time, which could have drowned out some of the juicy bits.

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"rip him apart on the flagellum"

I think that should become a euphemism for "tearing him a new one."

PZ, you do realise there's bound to be at least one cretinist out there who's gonna quote you on "religion must be more powerful than science! I am converted! Hallelujah!", right? ;)

PZ-- Gimme a minute! Lots to type, didnt get home till midnight :(

Quick comment: It wasnt just that the questions were good.

Its that the questions were good, and a strong majority were from students. The only Creationist comments were from two adults.

Awesome :)

OH YEAH!

And to make you antsy for the audio-- I was the person at the mic when the Prof spoke up and said "Can I explain the flagellum to you?"

I offered up my turn, but Dembski would have none of it. For several minutes he whines "YOU HAVE TO WAIT YOUR TUUUUUUUURN!"

Thats when I decided to change my question. :)

> "rip him apart on the flagellum"
>
> I think that should become a euphemism for > "tearing him a new one."

"Flagellated him with the flagellum" too obvious?

Check out the example of "flagellate" on dictionary.com:

verb
1. whip; "The religious fanatics flagellated themselves"

Understatement of the year:

"We have to approach Genesis with caution."

How about approaching it with incredulity, Sigworth?

And laughter doesn't hurt either.

Wake up!

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

/delurk

I don't think things went well for our side.

Yes those who are familiar with the material will see through dozens of Dembski falsehoods, some subtle and some blatant. But anyone not familiar with the material will be deeply impressed. Indeed Dembski was able to use an error made by the anti-Dembski ad in the student paper to great effect. The first Q&A was person who helped put up that ad made it even worse. To anyone unfamiliar with the material will likely be telling how Dembski made the questioners look like a bunch of monkeys. Many clearly are not effective public speakers going against a very smooth talker who was very much in control. Yeah, he did not impress the science people. Unfortunately he did not have to. ID tries to win outside of professional and scientifically informed audiences. This is why speeches and/or debate formats are useful for quacks. In a written format with no space limitations, they exposed to point by point refutation.

He really used the AMNH debate as evidence that he is respectable. One fast one is that he used the fact that "Beautiful Mind" Nash was an editor of the series where The Design Inference was published as evidence of respectability. Those not expecting a "fast one" and thus did not carefully parse his text might not notice he did not provide evidence that Nash actually supported his conclusions. He mentioned Chiu's citation of his book which was done, in Chiu's words, "as a courtesy" (i.e. so Dembski could say he was cited) as documented by Jeffery Shallit in his Dover statement which was passed out by the pro-science people outside.

Got to love his video. It makes the operation of biomolecules look like magic. Look at that walking molecule. Enzymes just fly to exactly where they are needed and exactly when they are needed as if they where intelligently piloted.

While Dembksi might not be a YEC, he certainly is not above recommending the True Origin Archive in the pamphlet that was placed in every chair prior to the doors opening.

/relurk

By Perplexed in Norman (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

That's what we need more of: the creationists getting laughed off the stages at their propaganda ops.

Agree completely. I'm not a scientist, but I've never understood the notion of having a "debate" with these folks.

Let them speak ... ask tough questions ... laugh as appropriate. But having a "debate" inevitably implies some uncertainty as to the outcome.

Same comments would apply to a historian "debating" a holocaust denier, or an engineer "debating" whether the evidence shows that the moon landings were a fraud.

By Scott Belyea (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

[Sigworth] said that his belief in God makes his experimental results no less valid, and that his religion enhances his work by giving him a unique perspective.

u·nique /yuˈnik/

adjective 1. existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics: a unique copy of an ancient manuscript.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/unique

Ha ha ha! Unfortunately, Sigworth, your god intoxication is far from unique. In fact, it's depressingly common.

Wake up! It only takes a second. Do it today! Join the modern world. Future generations of Sigworths will respect you! Think of the grandchildren!

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Perplexed in Norman-- Got to love his video. It makes the operation of biomolecules look like magic. Look at that walking molecule. Enzymes just fly to exactly where they are needed and exactly when they are needed as if they where intelligently piloted.

I cant WAIT to get the audio of that up! That video was narrated by Big Gay Al! I was in pain I was laughing so hard!

About him dissing the ad- I brought my laptop up with the Dover transcript to point out that ID Creationists admitted under oath that those articles did NOT support ID. But then he started whining "Wait your tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn eeeeeee!" and I got distracted.

I do NOT think he came off well, at one point jabbing at all the students that got him by saying "Theyre just doing it to impress their professors." Yeah, thats why Billy. Thats why. Ass.

:(

Speaking of hilarity, Nisbet's at it again, comparing framers to a candle in the dark (and by extension, suggesting that PZ and Dawkins are the dark).

He emphasizes "shared values", and then names a variety of sociocultural and political positions, none of which are necessarily held by defenders of reason and rationality. Ironically, he shares most of them with PZ, a person he rejects utterly because of the way he frames (or doesn't frame) his messages. But does he emphasize his shared values? No, he discards the message and the person who carries it.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Not if you listen to Bill Dembski's Q & A last night...where he said, "I've got plenty of ulterior religious motive, I'd like to see ID succeed because of my Christian background and beliefs."

ID proponent abandons pretense of secularity. Film at 11.

The weird thing about the Yale Daily News story is that Fred Sigworth actually is an excellent scientist. Anyone interested in ion channels or structural biology should definitely do a pubmed search.

The Yale Daily News piece really isn't the most well-written article in the world. I would be interested to read a transcript of what Sigworth actually said. It seems possible that something might have been lost in the transcription.

By lastplaneout (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Not to diss the U of M at Morris, but I've looked at the website and suspect that being a Professor at Yale is a few steps up from being, what is it, an Associate Professor at Morris. Sigworth, like Collins, seems to have a career in real research science, someone that the classroom and blog bound are bound to envy and jape at. You have any evidence that his religion has tainted his publications? What next, tests of political and ethnic purity?

What next, tests of political and ethnic purity?

Yes, that's certainly the next logical step after mocking someone for saying something stupid.

I don't recall mocking Sigworth's science, only his religious rationalizations.

Oh, but I forgot! No one is allowed to criticize anyone above their academic station. I must not disagree with anyone at well-endowed private universities with prestigious reputations. Of course, the flip side of that is that olvlzl isn't allowed to criticize me, unless he/she/it is a professor at Harvard or something. So by your own logic, shut up, olvlzl.

The Yale Daily News piece really isn't the most well-written article in the world. I would be interested to read a transcript of what Sigworth actually said. It seems possible that something might have been lost in the transcription.

I certainly hope that's the case. It would hurt me to know that a professor of cellular and molecular physiology does not understand the distinction between evolution, genetics and abiogenesis.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

You have any evidence that his religion has tainted his publications?

Your point seems to be that Sigworth's religion is really not related to his pursuit of science. OK, I'm not going to argue that point.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Since Sigworth has got a record of published research, he's qualified to talk about his personal experience of what he found helpful. Certainly more than someone who is only interested in enforcing his ideological purity standards on real scientists and others. You saying he's lying about his personal experience? You have any data to back that up?

You do not appear to realize that Professor Myers is asking how faith can prepare one to become a scientist, when he has seen so many people of faith become rabid anti-intellectuals devoted to the intellectual destruction of America, especially as demonstrated by the Discovery Institute.

Certainly more than someone who is only interested in enforcing his ideological purity standards on real scientists and others.

Who here is interested in 'enforcing ideological purity standards?'

Am I missing something? It seems like PZ is criticizing the strained defense and rationalization of Sigworth's religion, not any of his scientific work. Yet olvlzl keeps asking for evidence of Sigworth's religion interfering with his scientific worth, which is not something that was ever brought up in the post.

I don't recall mocking Sigworth's science, only his religious rationalizations.

It reads to me like penis--er-academic envy. It can't be that someone reads the evidence differently than you do. They must be stupid or delusional or perhaps mentally ill. It must be tough living life so much smarter and better than everyone else and without at least the paper credentials to back it up.

Dembski's slide into madness and irrelevance really is a wonder to behold.

In five years time he'll be riding the bus all day, arguing with anyone who makes eye contact.

By minimalist (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

"We have to approach Genesis with caution."

Who in their right mind would name a rottweiler "Genesis"?

Sigworth said his religion was useful to him in his scientific work, he's the one who did the work, he knows, you don't. PZ hates religion, well, big deal. He didn't do the research.

Someone who has a record of publication has a right to their personal views about other things without having to be answerable to PZ and his Amen choir here. It's a real spectacle, how people put up with PZ's playground bully act and real scientists seem to be cowed. I'd like to know just what those with some scientific credibility think about this kind of thing. Are they too scared to say?

Since Sigworth has got a record of published research, he's qualified to talk about his personal experience of what he found helpful.

Personally, I think anyone - absolutely anyone - would be qualified to talk about their own personal experiences. Really, what qualifications are there for that incredible honor?

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

[QUOTE]I certainly hope that's the case. It would hurt me to know that a professor of cellular and molecular physiology does not understand the distinction between evolution, genetics and abiogenesis.[/QUOTE]

I'm much more inclined to think that a Yale Daily News reporter has a hazy definition/understanding of evolution, abiogenesis, and intelligent design than I am to think Fred Sigworth does.

By lastplaneout (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

It reads to me like penis--er-academic envy. It can't be that someone reads the evidence differently than you do. They must be stupid or delusional or perhaps mentally ill. It must be tough living life so much smarter and better than everyone else and without at least the paper credentials to back it up.

Someone who has a record of publication has a right to their personal views about other things without having to be answerable to PZ and his Amen choir here.

So, just out of interest, are we going to apply this equally to, say, Kary Mullis, Nobel laureate and AIDS denialist? Linus Pauling, Nobel laureate and vitamin C crank? I'd love to know where the line is. Whose opinions are beyond criticism, exactly? Whose opinions are we allowed to deride as foolish, and whose are automatically out of bounds?

I'd like to know just what those with some scientific credibility think about this kind of thing. Are they too scared to say?

I don't have as many publications as Sigworth, but all of them are credible. I am not to scared to say that Sigworth is overstating the value of his religious belief to the pursuit of science. He is certainly not the first I have seen do this.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

It's a real spectacle, how people put up with PZ's playground bully act and real scientists seem to be cowed. I'd like to know just what those with some scientific credibility think about this kind of thing. Are they too scared to say?

The only person who has objected to anyone expressing an opinion here is you. Everyone else is discussing content. You seem to be outraged that anyone would have the temerity to discuss such opinions at all.

Hey Olvlzl, why don't you just keep posting the same thing over and over. I mean, why bother waiting for somebody else to post before you repeat the same tripe you posted moments ago?

And nice job jumping to the Godwin plateau so quickly.

Your trolling strategy is old hat, and nobody here is buying it.

By Stephen Occam (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

"Someone who has a record of publication has a right to their personal views about other things without having to be answerable to PZ and his Amen choir here."

No. They don't.

"It must be tough living life so much smarter and better than everyone else and without at least the paper credentials to back it up."

Actually, it's pretty fun. You'll notice how we're always cracking jokes here while the complainers seem to be a very humorless lot.

Personally, I think anyone - absolutely anyone - would be qualified to talk about their own personal experiences.

OK; maybe not someone with no long term memory, like Guy Pearce's character in Momento or Drew Barrymore's character in 50 First Dates.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Selkirk, I'd assumed that anyone who could read this blog would have at least the attention span to be able to follow that we were talking about what an individual scientist had said helped him in his research. I'm glad you agree with me that people have the right to their own ideas, apparently PZ doesn't. But, wait. Then you said that Sigworth was overstating the value of religion in his own work. You a mind reader or something? I can point out that if you're not a religious believer, you have no grounds for thinking you know that.

Stephen Occam, is that really your name? I always think it's a mistake to let the children handle the razor, they really don't have any idea what it does and doesn't do. And they are so liable to get cut. But, since it's just about only the words they've got a handle on, it's just make believe.

Martin M. I seldom wade into this blog, I'd expect a lot of people feel that way. Especially if it's not their day off, as it is mine.

I'd love to know where the line is. Whose opinions are beyond criticism, exactly? Whose opinions are we allowed to deride as foolish, and whose are automatically out of bounds?

Nobody is above criticsm and I don't object to criticism in the least. It's the arrogant dismissal to which I object. I could characterize and categorize Ernie Chambers as a typical atheist, liberal crank or dismiss those like P.Z. who (irrationally?) object to and resent free markets under the guise of progressiveness despite its obvious record of success compared to the stagnant bureaucratic alternatives he'd prefer (academics love bureaucracy donchaknow), but I think it better actually to engage people with whom I disagree on the merits rather than label, misrepresent and dismiss them out-of-hand, especially when they represent a major political, cultural or economic force. Novel concept, huh?

Stephen Occam, is that really your name? I always think it's a mistake to let the children handle the razor, they really don't have any idea what it does and doesn't do. And they are so liable to get cut. But, since it's just about only the words they've got a handle on, it's just make believe.

olvlzl, no ism, no ist is on the record as stating that Occam's razor is "just make believe."

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Since Sigworth has got a record of published research, he's qualified to talk about his personal experience of what he found helpful. Certainly more than someone who is only interested in enforcing his ideological purity standards on real scientists and others. You saying he's lying about his personal experience? You have any data to back that up?

Posted by: olvlzl, no ism, no ist

I've got a lot of clients, many of whom are deeply religious. Over the years I listen to what they say and rationalize. Based on 15-years of listening, I've concluded that the deeply religious typically credit everything positive in their lives to God and everything negative to themselves.

The mere fact that these individuals, through hard work and mostly-good, common-sense decision making have made themselves successful doesn't seem to enter their world view. I have no doubt that many religious scientists, who don't deal directly with evolution (and thus can ignore its implications or have the ability to rationalize them away) have the same view. After all, for deeply religious, this belief is "common sense."

Even if it is a fallacy.

Then you said that Sigworth was overstating the value of religion in his own work. You a mind reader or something? I can point out that if you're not a religious believer, you have no grounds for thinking you know that.

If someone tells me that, given a hammer and a squid, he is well-equipped for pounding nails, I do not need to be an expert on molluscs to understand that the squid is not a necessary ingredient.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

I can point out that if you're not a religious believer, you have no grounds for thinking you know that.

Posted by: olvlzl, no ism, no ist | September 18, 2007 11:48 AM

I think what is escaping you is you have no grounds for any of your criticisms based on your arguments and assertions.

And with that, I'm done feeding the troll...

dismiss those like P.Z. who (irrationally?) object to and resent free markets under the guise of progressiveness despite its obvious record of success compared to the stagnant bureaucratic alternatives he'd prefer (academics love bureaucracy donchaknow)

For the record, "free markets" don't work because they are neither safe or self-regulataory. The only question is how much over-sight to prevent fraud & corruption is necessary. And while many people call them "free markets," they're actually "regulated markets."

We have the FDA because of the dangers to our food supply and quack medicines that were the product of the "free markets." We have the SEC because of the rampant financial fraud we frequently saw in the "free markets." We have automobile safety regulations because Ford would rather you DIE than fix the exploding Pinto because it was cheaper...

Then you said that Sigworth was overstating the value of religion in his own work. You a mind reader or something? I can point out that if you're not a religious believer, you have no grounds for thinking you know that.

It occurs to me that perhaps you are not bright enought to understand my last post about this, so I'll spell it out:
I have heard other god-talk by religious scientists, and found it to be without merit.
I know plenty of scientists who are even more productive than Sigworth and manage it without religious belief. Therefore I know that religious belief is not an essential ingredient in scientific productivity.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

academics love bureaucracy donchaknow

I'm not an academic, but I love beaurocracy. Sometimes I lie awake at night wishing I could spend more time filling out forms during the day. When I was in university, I would purposely misunderstand directions just so I could stand in line at the wrong buildings.

Seriously. Who are you trying to kid?

*Actually, I suspect Sinbad was writing tongue-in-cheek to illustrate a point with the quoted line. Nobody but a farmer beset by crows should craft a strawman so well.

olvlzl is on record of knowing what Occam's razor is and knowing that it isn't what most of the wannabe-logicians of the blogs are entirely clueless. Cluelessness about Occam's Razor (he was a Franciscan, by the way) is endemic in the neo-atheist blogosphere. Though clearly reading deficiency isn't. If only Carl Sagan had been more careful.

Selkirk, you have no idea what Sigworth finds useful in his scientific research without him telling you. If he'd said playing bridge or doing needlework helped him, would you still call him a liar?

Moses, you a shrink? Jesus help your clients cause someone looking down on them like that isn't going to.

PZ, you claim that Sigworth is "yet another gomer striving to invent rationalizations for his ridiculous religion." In what way did he do this? I just see him drawing parallels between his religious belief and his scientific work. How is that a rationalization for religion?

And yet you think it is incredibly important to point out that science is incompatible with religion. And yes, certain kinds of religious belief are incompatible with science. But not all are. It is simply an empirical fact that there are thousands of religious scientists. They are in all fields. They are good scientists, bad scientists, and the entire range in between.

So your continued insistence that attacking is a necessary part for the advancement of science is simply wrong since many religious people make good scientists. If Sigworth does good scientific work, despite the fact that you find his religious views ridiculous, how does attacking his religious belief help the advancement of science?

By fardels bear (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Well, I'm a bureaucrat, and I love academia. So there you go.

Actually, I suspect Sinbad was writing tongue-in-cheek to illustrate a point with the quoted line. Nobody but a farmer beset by crows should craft a strawman so well.

Stop talking sense. It interferes with the assumption that everyone who believes and thinks somewhat as I do is a troll to be dismissed and ignored. We're all stupid, delusional, mentally ill child-abusers donchaknow....

"God of wonders beyond our galaxy / You are holy, holy / The universe declares your majesty / You are holy, holy."

I'm glad I wasn't in the room. Brain rot is a terrible thing to witness.

Whenever I read about these gatherings, I imagine the skeptical Richard Dawkins as an invisible presence in the room, sitting quietly in the corner, looking at the participants with that look of his - bemused, slightly contemptuous, ready to rip their delusions to shreds.

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

CalGeorge, you aren't into "invisible presences", are you? A holy Dawkins moment?

That's a lovely troll infestation you got there, PZ. You been hanging around the Friendly Atheist recently? Fluid transfer's pretty much the only thing that'll transfer an Olvlzl infection, and Hemant's had a nasty case since before my time.

Always use protection to prevent troll transfer, kids. Always.

you aren't into "invisible presences", are you? A holy Dawkins moment?

Just like his invisible memes and his physical evidence free Just-So stories of family and social life in the Pleistocene. Dawkins isn't skeptical, he knows exactly what he insists everyone should believe, even with absolutely no physical evidence that it is or ever was there.

Richard, Richard Dawkins / You are wholly unholy / I declare your atheistic majesty / You are wholly unholy.

Fewer anthems to God, more anthems to Richard Dawkins!

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

"Which blogs would Jesus troll?"

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

[Y]ou aren't into "invisible presences", are you?

In his Real Presences, George Steiner makes the argument that any coherent account of meaning in language and experience must be "underwritten by the assumption of God's presence." Of course, it can be dismissed out of hand as the ravings of an ignorant lunatic, based entirely upon preconceived notions, obviously.

http://books.google.com/books?id=pBn5PzaWdlQC&dq=&pg=PP1&ots=qPz0N7seUJ…

Gee, stogoe, I voluntarily told Hemant that I'd stop posting there because you guys were whining and crying that I was playing too hard. And here I thought that it was on the atheist blogs that the boys with the big ones played ball. Rationalism, yeah, right. Just like you're all power rangers of Occam's razor.

It is simply an empirical fact that there are thousands of religious scientists. They are in all fields. They are good scientists, bad scientists, and the entire range in between.

Why yes there are. Is the occurence of belief in scientists greater or lesser than in the general population? (Hint: it's lesser and that is an empirical fact.) Are gods apparent in the scientific output of any of the good or even mediocre scientists? Do they appear as a variable in the equations? (Hint: No, and that is also an empirical fact.)

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Selkirk in his last response demonstrates one of the more common lapses in scientific understanding among atheist fundamentalists. Science was developed only to study the physical universe and developed means to study the physical universe. Anyone who proposes using it to look for anything else is only demonstrating they literally don't know the first thing about science. Not that it doesn't stop them from saying such stupid things.

Gee, stogoe, I voluntarily told Hemant that I'd stop posting there because you guys were whining and crying that I was playing too hard.

You aren't playing too hard. You are ranting and raving and jumping from subject to subject while babbling incoherently. This is because you are mentally ill and a troll.

I (or anyone) could easily demolish your nonsense but am too busy to feed the trolls today.

gibberish moniker, you aren't presenting cogent arguments. You are not an intimidating debater. You are merely trolling for effect, and not very effective. Does DU pay you for this blather?

Unlike Nisbet, I won't complain about people posting under net handles, but I sure get tired of the ones that look like they were made from a random handful of Scrabble tiles.

(Oh noes, there goes the PZ echo chamberian again, being meeeean)

toobz clogged on teh internets

Is the occurence of belief in scientists greater or lesser than in the general population? (Hint: it's lesser and that is an empirical fact.)

Is the occurence of belief in women greater or lesser than in the general population? (Hint: it's greater and that is an empirical fact.)

Is the occurence of belief in blacks greater or lesser than in the general population? (Hint: it's greater and that is an empirical fact.)

Your point?

My point is that religious belief is certainly not neccesary for the conduct of science, and there is no reason to believe that it contributes to the conduct of science. What is your point?

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Sigworth said that religion aids in science because both involve incomplete data. By that standard, everything can potentially aid in science, because there is no "complete" self-contained branch of human ideation, and I suspect that there cannot be, given that any such field can generate questions that it cannot answer at a given time.

I know of no "complete" area of human knowledge --math, philosophy, physics, religion and even the arts are all on a par there so far as "working from incomplete data" are concerned -- this seems to suggest that Sigworth is merely selecting out religion on an emotive basis, since logically its incompleteness is no different than any other field.

The real problem becomes, as PZ mentioned...that the Abrahamic religionist has no data at all to point to.

By deadman_932 (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

gibberish moniker ... You are merely trolling

Aside: Doesn't the unpronounceability of it make him a demon rather than a troll? Or is there some part of the bestiary of imaginary supernatural entities I've missed?

On topic: Any sign of an ERV transcript? (I'm not a YouTuber - by reason of largely incompatible format. I like text - in properly written form.)

Another point: surveys have shown that the higher up the ladder of scientific success you go, the lower the incidence of religious belief amongst scientists. link

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

I'll put it in another way, slightly more sarcastic:

Astrology is an "incomplete" field of human knowledge. Sigworth is essentially saying that thinking about incomplete things helps you to think about incomplete things...thus, by his logic, thinking about astrology aids the scientist.

I suspect you might get Behe to agree with that, but most scientists would simply laugh at that suggestion.

By deadman_932 (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

"Anyone who proposes using it to look for anything else is only demonstrating they literally don't know the first thing about science."

Yes, of course, because practicing scientists don't know the first thing about science, but a wanna-be philosopher posting on a blog does.

Give me a coherent definition of "non-physical" and we can actually have some substantive discourse.

My point is that religious belief is certainly not neccesary for the conduct of science, and there is no reason to believe that it contributes to the conduct of science.non sequitur.

I know of no "complete" area of human knowledge...

I know of two. Tic Tac Toe, and more recently Checkers, have been solved. Neither provides evidence for God or support for religious belief.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

My point is that religious belief is certainly not neccesary for the conduct of science, and there is no reason to believe that it contributes to the conduct of science.

Actually, to be clearer, my non sequitur charge relates to the first clause. There is reason to think that "it contributes to the conduct of science" because Sigworth suggested that it helped him and he's a practicing scientist, even if we stipulate that it isn't necessarily helpful.

My point is that religious belief is certainly not neccesary for the conduct of science, and there is no reason to believe that it contributes to the conduct of science.

Since Sigworth made no such claim, your comment -- even if true -- is a non sequitur.

From the article:

"Being a Christian is good preparation for work as a scientist, and science can help prepare you for being a Christian," he said...
He said that his belief in God makes his experimental results no less valid, and that his religion enhances his work by giving him a unique perspective.

Suck on it.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Reginald: yep, those algorithms have been nailed down, but I was thinking more about broad areas and fields rather than specific problems -- math was used in those instances and remains incomplete.
Godel told me so last night in a dream, when he was bitch-slapping Behe and Sigworth.

By deadman_932 (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

By your phrase 'even if true' are you trying to assert that it is necessary?

"Actually, to be clearer, my non sequitur charge relates to the first clause. There is reason to think that "it contributes to the conduct of science" because Sigworth suggested that it helped him and he's a practicing scientist, even if we stipulate that it isn't necessarily helpful."

I can't speak for anyone else here, but I think it raises serious questions about his intellectual honesty. Much the same way as Collins' being convinced to "surrender to Jesus" by a frozen waterfall. What is being discussed sounds more a coexistence of partition than mutual aid and reinforcement.

Tyler, so you think that science being for the purpose of studying only the physical universe isn't important? Well, that would explain a lot.

The "non-physical. " How about an example of the non-physical, memes. Or how about the Just-so stories of evolutionary psychology based on nothing but self-serving necessity and let's pretend, since there's no evidence to back up our claims. Now, I'd never call those science, though someone who doesn't understand that first and most basic fact about science would. And does, frequently.

I see you're lying here since Alon gave up blogging. Not that I've been looking for you, just that I've got a long memory.

Suck on it.

That he thinks it enhances his work says precisely nothing about the conduct of science in general.

By your phrase 'even if true' are you trying to assert that it is necessary?

No. I suspect dear Reggie was trying to insinuate that atheists are smarter and better because scientists, and particularly esteemed scientists, are disproportionately atheist.

I can't speak for anyone else here, but I think it raises serious questions about his intellectual honesty.

That can only be so if you assume based upon preconceived notions writ large that he simply can't be speaking honestly. He can't be that stupid, can he?

olvlzl: Feel free to comment on what I wrote rather than grasping at irrelevant side issues.

The question was whether PZ's criticism was warranted, given Sigworth's actual claim that thinking about incomplete things aids in thinking about incomplete things. Astrology, olvlzl.

Do try to stay on point. There's a good lad.

By deadman_932 (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

"Tyler, so you think that science being for the purpose of studying only the physical universe isn't important?"

No, what I want is a coherent definition of "non-physical" so that I know what I'm dealing with. It's truly irritating how often the discourse on this topic degrades into the rhetorical equivalent of a game of Calvin-ball.

"How about an example of the non-physical..."

Even if we accept your premises on these examples, they are postulated phenomena that hardly constitute the "non-physical". They are at best unfalsifiable concepts.

Reginald Selkirk: Yes, I am aware that atheism is higher among scientists than in the general population. Your claim that "religious belief is certainly not necessary for the conduct of science" is one that I certainly agree with.

However, my point was that PZ and other folks around here seem to argue that religious belief prohibits the "conduct of science" because religion, they claim, holds itself out as an "alternative path to knowledge." I think that PZ, and those who hold this line are mistaken. Certain forms of religious belief are perfectly compatible with being a scientist. Sigworth seems to be an example of that.

So, what do empirically-minded scientists do when confronted with a fact (the existence of thousands of religious scientists) that belie their theory (that science and religion are incompatible). 'Round these parts it seems they merely shout their theory louder, hope that no one points out the fact, and mock anyone who claims that attacking religion is not necessary to advance science and science education.

By fardels bear (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Suck on it.

Oh, and I suppose the idea that some politician might say that having been brought up poor helps him/her understand the plight of the dispossessed and enhances his/her political work equates to claiming that having been brought up poor is necessary for successful governance?

"That can only be so if you assume based upon preconceived notions writ large that he simply can't be speaking honestly."

No, it can also be because I recognize the innate human propensity for wishful thinking and confirmation bias. The easiest person to fool is yourself.

That he thinks it enhances his work says precisely nothing about the conduct of science in general.

It's unfortunate that you were not present to make this point to the Yale Christian Fellowship gathering Sigworth was addressing.

No. I suspect dear Reggie was trying to insinuate that atheists are smarter and better because scientists, and particularly esteemed scientists, are disproportionately atheist.

Is it really too much for you to admit that I was correct on the facts, and you were not? Instead, you have to go suspecting things for which you have no evidence. Now be a good person and do stop beating your wife.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Oh, and I suppose the idea that some politician might say that having been brought up poor helps him/her understand the plight of the dispossessed and enhances his/her political work equates to claiming that having been brought up poor is necessary for successful governance?

You seem to be a very sore loser. It's a pity then that you are such a loser.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

However, my point was that PZ and other folks around here seem to argue that religious belief prohibits the "conduct of science"...

I think you're going to have a tough time finding support for that in anything PZ has written.

Certain forms of religious belief are perfectly compatible with being a scientist. Sigworth seems to be an example of that.

Sigworth's reported comments on ID bely that. He may be competent within his field, but his religious conviction does seem to interfere with his acceptance of certain well-established scientific theories.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Fardels:
"However, my point was that PZ and other folks around here seem to argue that religious belief prohibits the "conduct of science" because religion, they claim, holds itself out as an "alternative path to knowledge." I think that PZ, and those who hold this line are mistaken. Certain forms of religious belief are perfectly compatible with being a scientist. Sigworth seems to be an example of that."

I'd agree that *certain* religious views are compatible with science, and that others are not. I have never heard PZ say that ALL religious belief **prohibits** the conduct of science, merely that some do and some others generate fallacious claims. Sigworth didn't HAVE to claim that because religion and science are incomplete, thinking about one aids in the other. But he did and it remains silly, bacause all fields are incomplete and he may as well have said: "Thinking about astrology helps in thinking about science."

If PZ HAS said that ALL religious beliefs prohibit (prevent) the conduct of science, I'd like to see that quote -- that would be interesting.

PS: I'm not trying to be discourteous to you, as I was with olvlzl (and "Sinbad", peripherally), I'm just curious about your sources. Truthfully, I'm just taking a break and goofing off.

By deadman_932 (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

My posts are now being delayed or withheld. Why is that I wonder? Posted by: Sinbad | September 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Don't get the idea that it's because you're so damned important, mister! *poke*

It happens to everyone from time to time. (It happened to me last night on the "Wells Lied" thread.) The Spam Filter works in Mysterious Ways. I suspect one reason a post is likely to be held up if it contains more than 2 or 3 links AND the links possess certain characteristics that will likely forever be beyond my ability to deduce, but that's pure conjecture based on limited data.

This is not the same thing, though, as the arcane nasty-word filter that completely blocks, rather than holds, posts with (for example) the word "document" enclosed in an [a][/a] tag, thanks to the embedded string "cum". Brilliant, eh?

Praise Bog for the Cyrillic filter-defeater method. :-)

On a more interesting note: Howzabout that Dembski acknowledging that he's motivated by religion to promote ID? And opining that humans and apes share no common ancestry? What a hoot.

By deadman_932 (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

If PZ is primarily interested in the advancement of science, and if religious belief is not incompatible to the advancement of science, then why attack religious belief in order to advance science?

Isn't PZ's campaign against Nisbet's panel based on the idea that the panel is incomplete because it doesn't attack religion? Isn't the clear implication there that an attack on religion is necessary to advance science or science communication?

Am I the only one who pictures Squidworth from SPONGEBOB when hearing the name "Sigworth?"

By fardels bear (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Isn't PZ's campaign against Nisbet's panel based on the idea that the panel is incomplete because it doesn't attack religion?

I didn't think so. I thought it was because the panel was clearly biased to one side of an issue, and deigned to discuss the work of the "New Atheists" without including any of them on the panel. Feel free to support your contention with actual quotes from PZ on why he is objects to it (which I don't think amounts to a "campaign.")

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Is it really too much for you to admit that I was correct on the facts, and you were not?

No. Had you been correct I would have readily admitted it. But unless and until you can establish that what Sigworth testified as having helped him was being projected as somehow necessary for everyone, your contention is just plain silly.

You seem to be a very sore loser. It's a pity then that you are such a loser.

The power and incisiveness of your wit leaves me speechless. Well, not quite....

Reginald Selkirk: Quite right, my use of "campaign" was ill-chosen. His "comments" on Nisbet's panel would have been more accurate.

The panel was on "Communicating Science in a Religious America." PZ was pissed because the panel ignored his position on how to best to communicate science. And he was pissed because the panel was stacked with appeasers which would make the "recommendation to muzzle the godless." In other words, it was very important that godlessness be front and center in the act of communicating science.

My question since then was why is it important that godlessness be an important part of science education? I point out that science and religion can be compatible and people, you and PZ agree with me. I then ask why it is important that godlessness be part of science communication and.... Well I have never heard an answer here.

If science and religion aren't inherently incompatible, why should atheism be part of science education?

By fardels bear (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

September 18, 2007

It appears to me that in this thread people are talking at cross purposes. Rather than explain what I mean, I cut to the chase. Olvlzl has a point: "you have no idea what Sigworth finds useful in his scientific research without him telling you. If he'd said playing bridge or doing needlework helped him, would you still call him a liar? " PZ's original observation was what earthly good was Sigworth's religious beliefs doing for his science? Now, philosophy of science distinguishes between the context of discovery of an hypothesis and the context of its verification. It's really fun in science when a light bulb goes on and the first glimmer of an empirically interesting proposition forms in the mind, and maybe needlework helps some get to that happy place; myself, I prefer lucid dreaming. But the valuable part of the scientific enterprise is the hard work of designing valid tests intended to lead the hypothesis to fail. So, while olvlzl's point is true, it's irrelevant because apparently Sigworth's talk was more about the context of discovery than the context of verification, and PZ's observation was spot-on as to verification, but a little mean because obviously Sigworth (anyone) can talk about their experiences in the practice of science.

Doug Rozell, Beachville, Canada

By Doug Rozell (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

I then ask why it is important that godlessness be part of science communication and....

Bear, how about this:

It's important to communicate that religion is not necessary to science and that science makes no assumptions and reaches no conclusions about religion.

If science and religion aren't inherently incompatible, why should atheism be part of science education?

Do I smell straw, or am I imagining it? Who asserted that it should be?

Who said these "New Atheists" would talk about atheism at the meeting? People like Dawkins are all about communicating science -- in a meeting titled "Communicating Science in a Religious America" we might say that it is inappropriate to use religion as a filter, and that we ought not to water down the message to palliate the religious right, but otherwise, it would be about "Communicating Science".

Or do you, like so many others, consider that the only people fit to communicate science to the public are good christians? There is a considerable amount of discrimination against atheist speakers, you know — they are only invited to these kinds of events if they keep their silence about atheism.

On the other hand, we look at the makeup of this panel, and Nisbet's choice of topic, and we can tell rather plainly that there will be much pious endorsement of christianity and a fair amount of atheist bashing. Sleeves will be flaunted with much fluttering of their faith.

Thanks Kseniya for pointing that out because I thought I had missed something.

PZ: Under no circumstances do I think "he only people fit to communicate science to the public are good christians." What I do think is that you have not made clear (at least to me, maybe I'm dense) exactly what the relationship between atheism and science education/communication is.

You claim here that People like Dawkins are all about communicating science." Well, no. Certainly he is about communicating science in SELFISH GENE, one of the best books ever for communicating science. The new book on atheism is less about communicating science and more about communicating atheism. Do we really learn any science in it?

You write that "we might say that it is inappropriate to use religion as a filter, and that we ought not to water down the message to palliate the religious right." Good point, and seems to indicate that atheism isn't a necessary part of science communication. But then you go onto complain that there is discrimination against atheists and that "they are only invited to these kinds of events if they keep their silence about atheism" which seems to be a claim that you would NOT keep godlessness out of the task of communicating science.

So, would you make atheism part of communicating science or not? I keep seeing you trying to eat your cake and have it too. Kseniya frames it as "It's important to communicate that religion is not necessary to science and that science makes no assumptions and reaches no conclusions about religion" which makes a lot of sense to me. But that means that atheism qua atheism has no place in communicating science.

Oh, I'm starting to bore even myself now. Carry on all, I'll shut up.

By fardels bear (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Thanks for posting a link to my real time pseudo-blog on the Dembski talk. I had just assumed the only people that were ever going to see it were IIDBers, but now it's fair to say that it's reached a broader audience. Once again, I apologize for the disjointed nature and poor grammar and spelling of the post; I was going as fast as I possibly could. Now that I've been mentioned on Pharyngula, I feel famous! :) Perhaps one day soon I can be a movie star, just like you! Then I'll know I've really made it. :)

Vixy

By Golfvixen (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Hiya Golfvixen! I thought you did a marvelous job with your post. Thank you.

BTW, cooool name. :) :) :) :)

By jeffox backtrollin' (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

You aren't getting it. There's a one way door here: you can babble all you want about your religion and how it fits your science, but you cannot babble to even the same degree about how your lack of faith is a better fit to science. You can also make religiosity or willingness to kowtow to religion a precondition for this kind of panel, and get all cranky if anyone points it out.

You don't think it's odd that the group of people who have made the most noise about religion and communicating science have been excluded from a panel about religion and communicating science? It's just bizarre.

Hiya Golfvixen! I thought you did a marvelous job with your post. Thank you.

BTW, cooool name. :) :) :) :)

By jeffox backtrollin' (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Oooops, sorry for the double post. Either that, or Dr. Myers' field goal is GOOD!!! :)

By jeffox backtrollin' (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Sigworth said his religion was useful to him in his scientific work, he's the one who did the work, he knows, you don't.

Alexander Alekhine said alcohol was useful to him in playing chess. He's the one who did the drinking and the playing, so he knew, right? Except that evidence showed that his successes were despite the alcohol, and that alcohol was directly responsible for his loss of the World Championship title. Fortunately for him, alcoholism is not a religion, so he underwent treatment, sobered up, and regained the title.

I point out that science and religion can be compatible and people, you and PZ agree with me...
If science and religion aren't inherently incompatible...

You pointed out that people with religious belief can be scientists, even very good ones. I agree with that. Now you switch to saying that science and religion are "compatible," and I don't agree with that. The difference? The usage of "compatible".

Suppose I could supply an example of a German Jew who was a Nazi; in fact an officer in the SS (I can.) Would this prove that Judaism and Naziism are "compatible"? That depends on your usage of "compatible," doesn't it?

I would claim that scientists with religious belief are compartmentalizing their minds, and this to me is not a meaningful form of "compatibility."

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Last time I was here people were lathering on about 60% of scientists were atheists and that religion was incompatible with science. The logical conclusion was that they wanted there to be 40% fewer scientists in the United States. While that would free some rather nice jobs for those of, perhaps, lesser qualification, it really wouldn't do much for science in the larger scheme of things.

People get to decide what is compatible in their personal lives. Apparently some people get upset that some rather good scientists find religion compatible, even helpful. If they've got a job, are doing science that stands up and keep their job, live with it. This is beginning to look like publish or perish has given way to publish or pout that someone has a better job than you do.

You might be able to black ball someone from your department, but you can't black ball them from the profession of science.

I would claim that scientists with religious belief are compartmentalizing their minds, and this to me is not a meaningful form of "compatibility." Selkirk.

You make it sound like Lord Voldermort making horcruxes. You know what, I'll bet that somewhere in the United States, there's a professional scientist who is supposed to be thinking of some aspect of cellular science who has a part of their brain fixed on hanky panky.

The guy said he found religion helpful, you think you know more about what happens in his mind than he does? Though I suspect the answer to that is an arrogant and entirely unscientific, "yes", it's a pretty stupid thing for you to believe.

Suppose I could supply an example of a German Jew who was a Nazi; in fact an officer in the SS (I can.) Would this prove that Judaism and Naziism are "compatible"? That depends on your usage of "compatible," doesn't it? (Emphasis supplied).

If there were only a single religious scientist you might have a point. That there are thousands suggests that your ideology is trampling reason. Pity that.

You know what, I'll bet that somewhere in the United States, there's a professional scientist who is supposed to be thinking of some aspect of cellular science who has a part of their brain fixed on hanky panky.

Poor ONINI, so silly and naive. That's not compartmentalisation, because cellular biology and sex aren't mutually exclusive. (In fact, you might be interested to learn that the act of sex often involves teeny little cells. You came from a pairing of two, for example.)

However, a literal interpretation of Genesis does conflict with nearly everything known in biology. Hence, biologists cannot pursue both at the same time without isolating one from the other.

Anything else you'd like me to think through for you, since you prefer not to do it yourself?

People like Dawkins are all about communicating science -- in a meeting titled "Communicating Science in a Religious America"... PZ

Gee, Dawkins has, unfortunately, been one of more common media figures representing science in the United States, and the percentage of people who accept evolutionary science seems to have gone down for the entire period. Maybe things would be better if he would keep his arrogant face off camera.

Here's a little clue, people don't generally take to being told they're superstitious idiots. The creationists don't tell them that and as a result the side with the facts loses to the side with better people skills. There's a word for brilliant people who keep doing the same thing that fails over and over for a long period of time. Idiots.

I'll give you an example of an evolutionary psychologist who enjoyed a high position in the "science" while he was writing book after book of anti-Semitic junk and getting good reviews from people like John Hartung, Kevin MacDonald.

olvlzl, no ism, no ist

Here's a little clue, people don't generally take to being told they're superstitious idiots. The creationists don't tell them that and as a result the side with the facts loses to the side with better people skills

As long as you acknowledge which side has the facts. We can get better with people. You can't get facts.

If science and religion aren't inherently incompatible

They are inherently incompatible though (evidence and reason being in direct opposition to faith). It's merely that no-one with a plausible claim to sanity does them at the same time. Anyone who attempts it will do a rubbish job - at both of them. Rather like breast-feeding and fighting in a suit of armour are inherently incompatible things and deep-sea-diving and cake-baking are etc. The odd thing is that no-one is remotely surprised at the vast majority of incompatible things being routinely compartmentalised in people's lives, whereas many people object strenuously just to that religion-science incompatibility even being noticed.

There's a word for brilliant people who keep doing the same thing that fails over and over for a long period of time. Idiots.

Like worshiping something non-existent?

Here's a little clue, people don't generally take to being told they're superstitious idiots.

What are we supposed to do, praise them for believing in a lot of hooey?

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

"I'd rather listen to what someone who has actually produced science thinks about it than wannabes and blog poseurs. "

And you are?

Speaking of poseurs...

I produce science every time I clean out the refrigerator.

Good gumbo! Where did this mess o' trolls come from? We have a Class I infestation! Where's my can of God-B-Gone(tm)?

By Wolfhound (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Here's a little clue, people don't generally take to being told they're superstitious idiots.

I try to avoid calling people idiots the first time a religious argument is made. It might come out after several go-rounds, though.

And as for "superstitious", well, I prefer "delusional" right now. But drawing an obvious analogy between what they believe and various superstitions is rhetorically reasonable, I think.

The creationists don't tell them that and as a result the side with the facts loses to the side with better people skills.

Do creationists have better people skills? I think that's highly debatable.

What they do seem to have is better propaganda skills, and fewer compunctions about lying and double-standards.

There's a word for brilliant people who keep doing the same thing that fails over and over for a long period of time. Idiots.

I love how you contradict your own argument twice over — firstly by being repetitive, and secondly by being insulting, using the exact same insult you say doesn't work. What, you think it's going to work for you?

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

Do creationists have better people skills? I think that's highly debatable.

It is rather hard to argue that a group of ignorant hate-mongerers have good people skills, but whatever.

ONINI: If you want to see how stupid, look at bullfighter's last comment.

I really hope you are saying that my comment was stupid. Unfortunately, you don't seem able to write a meaningful sentence, so there is a slight worry in the back of my mind that you wanted to invoke my comment in a positive way, which would be highly undesirable.

I know I said I'd shut up about all this. Just one quick thing: PZ wrote, "you can babble all you want about your religion and how it fits your science" and I just want to point out that I never claimed to be religious in any way. Not everyone who disagrees with PZ's particular take on the relationship between religion and science is religious.

By fardels bear (not verified) on 18 Sep 2007 #permalink

He said that it's stupid to believe you know more about what goes on in person A's mind than person A does [aside: absent evidence to suggest person A may be engaging in self-deception, I agree], and if you want to know just how stupid, consider the example of the chess player who'd fooled himself into thinking booze made him a better player. [Relevant aside: dependencies tend to drive denial, rationalization, minimizing, and other mechanisms that defend the dependency.]

Does that seem contradictory? Why, yes, so perhaps O meant something else, though I'm not quite sure what.

bullfighter, I really, really was saying your comment was stupid. Because it was stupid.

Gelf, the side that has the facts of evolution is the side favoring evolution. Just as long as you don't make the mistake of believing that evolution is the exclusive property of atheists there's a chance you might get the people skills necessary to win. Apparently many here won't give up that stupid idea and the smug self-satisfaction they derive from it no matter now many years of falling support for evolution go by. It's a matter of priorities, I guess. And theirs isn't for winning the political argument. Some of us sort of think that's more edifying than preening snobbery.

I was using a very generic second person -- I had and have no idea about what your religious beliefs are, and was not trying to imply that you specifically were making that argument. Sorry for the confusion.

Just as long as you don't make the mistake of believing that evolution is the exclusive property of atheists there's a chance you might get the people skills necessary to win.

Being an atheist, and understanding that advances in scientific knowledge make deities unnecessary and irrelevant has nothing to do with developing people skills.

Your "points" have nothing to do with each other.

O-Ninny, if you think the people posting on this blog are "idiots" and part of PZ's "choir" then you are just trolling. And cribbing from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy doesn't make you an expert on Occam's Razor. Just thought I'd pat you on the head before you go back under your bridge.

By stmarnock (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Every time I encounter another smirking troll, I always think back to Elvis Costello's excellent "At The Other End Of The Telescope":

Lie down baby now
Don't say a word
There there baby your vision is blurred
Your head is so sore from all of that thinking
I don't want to hurt you now
But I think you're shrinking

By stmarnock (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Felicia Gilliam, I wasn't trying to accomplish anything I look at PZ's blog to see if he's still being a bigot who is more interested in projecting his obnoxious personality than in the welfare of science education in the public schools. Since the answer every time I've looked is, clearly not, I don't think it was a matter of wanting to accomplish anything.

The Knights of Scientism and the Power Rangers of Occam are a bunch of conceited dweebs who are a lot better at making enemies than they are at doing something. I could ask, what does anyone who comes here regularly or daily hope to accomplish other than the seductive fun you have talking about how much smarter you are than other people. You might consider what some of the better writers who wasted their time in the Algonquin Roundtable came to conclude, that it hadn't done their hopes of being serious writers much good.

olvlzl, Unless I'm mistaken you never answered my question: What are you trying to accomplish here?

olvlzl's point has always been the same: Shut up atheists! Don't question or challenge!

shouldn't you be working on your people skills olvzl? After all, calling us all arrogant, complaining about us, isn't really helping you connect with us, is it now?

So, then, olvsl, can you demonstrate how having faith is a prerequisite for becoming a scientist while so many people of faith adamantly deny science?
Furthermore, what is "Scientism"?

MAJeff, my point is that atheists who are conceited and obnoxious, self-involved idiots who pretend to be scientific geniuses while not being able to connect two ideas into a logical argument don't do the kind of atheists normal people would like any good by forcing their way in front of the camera. So, I'd guess a lot of normal atheists would rather have you shut up than I would. You know that some of the prominent IDers have thanked Dawkins for being just such a jerk. He does their side so much good.

Not being an atheist or a creationist, I don't care if you shut up or not. I'm encouraging people who aren't conceited jackasses to distance themselves from you and to get on with adult concerns.

where have you connected logical arguments? I pointed out earlier that you were trying to connect things that aren't connected.

You may just be the idiot. Indeed, I'm feeling pretty comfortable that you are.

And if you want others to avoid us, why take your own advice?

You know that some of the prominent IDers have thanked Dawkins for being just such a jerk. He does their side so much good.

And how does this juicy tidbit of gossip neutralize the fact that all of the prominent IDers have been shown to have absolutely no motivation whatsoever to do any scientific experiments or even provide explanations with or about Intelligent Design?

Furthermore, what is "Scientism"?

Stanton, since you clearly have trouble reading what I wrote, believing I made an argument I never did and never have made anywhere, I'm afraid I don't have the time to make up for your lack of reading and research skills. If you want to find out what scientism is, I'd suggest Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

You are the one with poor reading skills, as the question of why faith is a necessity of becoming a scientist is the question that Professor Myers originally posted in this blog entry.

Furthermore:

The Knights of Scientism and the Power Rangers of Occam are a bunch of conceited dweebs who are a lot better at making enemies than they are at doing something.

I would like to know why you insisted on using that term, given as how it's used solely in the context that "Science" is a cult, or a religion.
That, and how does Dawkins' behavior excuse the fact that IDers do not do, are not motivated to do, and are incapable of doing science?

I'm afraid I don't have the time to make up for your lack of reading and research skills.

And yet, you have all the time in the world to insult everyone here over their alleged lack of people skills.

...more interested in projecting his obnoxious personality...

...conceited dweebs who are a lot better at making enemies than they are at doing something.

...conceited and obnoxious, self-involved idiots who pretend to be scientific geniuses while not being able to connect two ideas into a logical argument...

Still projecting, I see.

Stanton, you looked it up on wiki, didn't you. Will you never learn, wiki is simply not a reliable research resource.

I see someone else has trouble looking things up. Imagine, me knowing more about your hero's press clippings than you do.

William Dembski (one of the leading lights of the US intelligent-design lobby) put it like this in an email to Dawkins: "I know that you personally don't believe in God, but I want to thank you for being such a wonderful foil for theism and for intelligent design more generally. In fact, I regularly tell my colleagues that you and your work are one of God's greatest gifts to the intelligent-design movement. So please, keep at it!"

http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/comment/story/0,,1740547,00.html

I read up and didn't see your multiple attempts. Stanton, I used the word "scientism" because I assumed that anyone who didn't know what it meant and was interested would have the sense to get a real dictionary. Lost arts among the geniuses who inhabit places like this one.

And, don't ever think I'm not finding this fun. I don't start work for another half hour.

olvlzlismist: So you admit you didn't use "Scientism" because it was relevant to your point? You used it as a little challenge for the (very) few readers who aren't already familiar with the term? If so, then what was your point, vocabulary lessons aside?

Dembski: "So please, keep at it!"

As if that little cut-and-paste answers Stanton's question, which has now been asked twice. Sheesh.

Okay, make it three: "[H]ow does Dawkins' behavior excuse the fact that IDers do not do, are not motivated to do, and are incapable of doing science?"

ID is primarily a public-relations effort. Sure, Dembski claims Dawkins' outspoken atheism helps this effort, and thanks him for it - but Dembski, an academic pariah, claims all sorts of things.

A far more relevant quote might be this:

"If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can't do it. You are a fake." - Richard Dawkins

William Dembski (one of the leading lights of the US intelligent-design lobby)...

If your argument depends on accepting William "fart noises" Dembski as a reliable source, your argument is in serious trouble.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Kseniya, thank you. Now I can give Felicia an example of something I've accomplished here. I've identified the universal habit of atheist fundamentalists. When you don't like an argument, change it to one you like. It's how you handle everything you can't handle because you are simply not as Bright as you like to think you are. And pretty lazy to boot. I didn't say anything like that.

Now, unlike you. I've got to go to work. I've got students waiting.

Oh, just one more kick. Selkirk, you jerk. That was what the writer for the Guardian said. You are not only stupid, you're bone idle. I gave you the link and everything.

Suppose I could supply an example of a German Jew who was a Nazi; in fact an officer in the SS (I can.) Would this prove that Judaism and Naziism are "compatible"? That depends on your usage of "compatible," doesn't it? (Emphasis supplied).
If there were only a single religious scientist you might have a point. ..

Hey Mr. Logic, how many examples does it take to disprove a generality? Statistics already provided (scientists are less likely than the general populace to be religious believers; this effect is more pronounced for the most accomplished scientists) are more than enough to make my point. I just thought an analogy might help to illustrate the point for the slower members of the audience.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Oh, just one more kick. Selkirk, you jerk. That was what the writer for the Guardian said. You are not only stupid, you're bone idle. I gave you the link and everything.

Yes? And if you disagree with the writer, why did you quote him? Are you stupid and bone idle?

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

O, you've stopped making sense. Don't blame me if you can'tget from point A to point C.

Also, I'm not an atheist (let alone a fundamentalist). Your point?

Your pathetic little "Unlike you, I've got to work now" schtick is right out of the trailer-park wingnut blog-comment playbook. What do you think I am, a bored housewife waiting for the soaps to come on? LOL.

You: I used the word "scientism" because I assumed that anyone who didn't know what it meant and was interested would have the sense to get a real dictionary

Me: So you admit you didn't use "Scientism" because it was relevant to your point? You used it as a little challenge for the (very) few readers who aren't already familiar with the term?

You: I didn't say anything like that.

I find this dodge rather lazy and dishonest of you.

Poor poor students.

Do you teach ID AND Jesus too?

Hey Mr. Logic, how many examples does it take to disprove a generality?

A lot, actually. A singular example can only defeat a claimed universality. C'mon, Reggie, even a grade schooler ought to be able to figure that out.

o, @ #152, you lie. DU pays you by the troll-word.

That was what the writer for the Guardian said.

Yes, and that was obvious, but you used it in support of what you yourself said a few comments earlier:

You know that some of the prominent IDers have thanked Dawkins for being just such a jerk. He does their side so much good.

Were those not your words? If so, did they not accurately express your opinion? If not, why not? Are we to assume you do not mean what you eay? If so, then how are we to respond to you at all?

ONINI:

bullfighter, I really, really was saying your comment was stupid.
Because it was stupid.

Oh, thank goodness!

If you didn't think I was stupid, I'd be worried that I said something fallacious.

I love ya, man!

William Dembski (one of the leading lights of the US intelligent-design lobby) put it like this in an email to Dawkins: "I know that you personally don't believe in God, but I want to thank you for being such a wonderful foil for theism and for intelligent design more generally. In fact, I regularly tell my colleagues that you and your work are one of God's greatest gifts to the intelligent-design movement. So please, keep at it!"

So, how does this explain why Dawkins' behavior is an excuse for the fact that IDers do not do, are not motivated to do, and are incapable of doing science? Especially when much of Dawkins' behavior is a direct response to the IDers' lies about doing science?

Don't hold your breath for an answer, Stanton. Unlike lazy-assed scientismists like us, Olvlzl has to go to work.

Re: our pet troll

So, my fellow "Power Rangers of Occam" who "are a bunch of conceited dweebs" - can Olvlzl define how William of Ockham's work invalidates our reasoned arguments? Or even do anything but crib wikipedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy?

Fair warning Olvlzl: I will be using your email exchange next week in my Nominalism and Realism class as an example of how to get a fail for arrogance and intellectual dishonesty. You don't merit a plagiarism demerit because you lack the wit, industry and honesty to cite sources.

Do yourself a favour and read a book. Even a telephone book. Literacy means more than spewing uninformed bigotry on someone else's blog. I could sign off by passive-aggressively saying I'll pray for you, but as an honest atheist, I can't.

I'll read for you instead.

By stmarnock (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Stmarnock, I strongly recommend David Prothero's After the Dinosaurs. It's an interesting read about mammalian evolution during the Cenozoic.

Since olvlzl's entire modus operandi was to argue against repeatedly insulting people by repeatedly insulting people, one can only conclude that his/her/their/its real and true purpose in this thread was to masturbate.

Using vitriol instead of lube, but hey, some people are just kinky.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Using vitriol instead of lube, but hey, some people are just kinky.

With that much wanking, he must be raw by now. Ow.

Stanton, thanks for the recommendation. The Cenozoic is a fascinating era and I don't read as much as I should about mammalian evolution. Thanks again.

By stmarnock (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Yes? And if you disagree with the writer, why did you quote him? Are you stupid and bone idle?

Posted by: Reginald Selkirk

Him? Him! And after I advised you to read the link before you spouted off about it!. You numskull. The distinguished British journalist, Madeleine Bunting will be really surprised to find out that she's a him.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/madeleine_bunting/profile.html

You need "Professor" Myers to sex people for you before you know which gender they are? Or are you just too lazy and puerile to read something before you comment on it?

You have got to be some of the stupidest people who were convinced they were geniuses I've ever encountered . Oh, I feel so whipped. So defeated. What a bunch of whiny-assed crybabies.

S/he sure gotcha there, Reg. *eyeroll*

stmarnock, I hope you provide your "Nominalism and Realism" students the link to this entire thread so they can see for themselves that I didn't once invoke Occam's razor in my arguments even once. I used him to make fun of the pretenses of atheist fundamentalists who might have read Carl Sagan but who have certainly not bothered reading him or even Bertrand Russel on him. And you have just proved my point that even the most credentialed among you you are a bunch of groupthink jerks who comment on what someone says without even bothering to read it.

Now, will you provide your students with the full record, or will you distort it?

Oh, stmarnock, I should tell you. I did write on the razor once. I'd hate your students to go on the distorted record of their teacher instead of what I've actually said.

The kind of pop-materialists, cultists of scientism, etc. who are always ready to pull out the old chestnut "Occam's razor" often mistake their wielding of pat assertions of prejudice and dismissive bigotry for this tool. That is an advertisement of their fundamentalism, not their mastery of logic. They often can't get to step one of the use of the razor, finding out if it is useful in the question at hand.

A less than honest use of the form of the razor popular these days is to apply it to a question beyond its ability, the question of the existence of God. "The material world is most simply explained without a God so the idea of a God is false", or some such construction. This begins by assuming that our knowledge of the physical universe and the methods we know to analyze it are effectively comprehensive, when they certainly aren't. It also assumes that a God, by definition supernaturally outside of the physical universe, would be susceptible to the known limits of the physical universe and answerable to its laws. They do this even on those occasions when they assign qualities to "God" such as "all powerful" "all knowing", etc. Just the first of these "all" qualities would include the ability to surpass the known laws of nature.

It compounds those follies with the assumption that only a yes-no answer is possible when neither are. The only honest answer to the question of God's existence is "I don't know". You can go on from there to believe, not believe or abstain from voting on the existence of God. But belief isn't considered to be the same thing as knowledge.

http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/search?q=occam+

There's a more complete version elsewhere, but I'm too busy to look up the URL.

So are you a creationist or not?

So are you a creationist or not?
Posted by: Steve_C

Despite what you might conclude from most of the comments attacking me here, I said I wasn't in several places in these threads and regretted the political advantage that Dawkins and his dittos provide for them and their ID smoke screen. I have always accepted evolution with natural selection as a major, if not the major mechanism of evolution.

Smoke screen?

Do you know how many americans don't accept the theory of evolution?

Do you understand why we are relentless in our ridicule of the godbots that want to insert ID into biology classes?

You seem to want to keep the debate at some existential highbrow level. When the reality only a small number of people (in the U.S.) ever think of it on that level.

You wanna be pissy about people calling religion a sham and a goof. That's too bad.
Most religous americans wouldn't even understand your arguments for religion.

Despite what you might conclude from most of the comments attacking me here, I said I wasn't in several places in these threads and regretted the political advantage that Dawkins and his dittos provide for them and their ID smoke screen.

A) If you did not insult everyone here in every single one of your comments, we would be far less inclined to attack you.
B) And this brings us roundabout back to my question of why is Dawkins' behavior is an excuse for the fact that IDers do not do, are not motivated to do, and are incapable of doing science?

A) If you did not insult everyone here in every single one of your comments, we would be far less inclined to attack you

And the ironic thing is that olvlzl claims that atheists are losing because we have no "people skills" when he has shown absolutely none of the skills he claims we're lacking.

Does it actually matter if olvlzl explicitly calls himself a Creationist, or even whether he believe in special creation?

He's a moron. That makes him functionally equivalent to a Creationist, no matter the specific dogmas he repeats mindlessly.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Drat. That should be 'believes', dammit.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

Stanton, MaJeff, I only insulted those who were asking for it. Notice, I'm not bawling my eyes out about the mean things people said about me. And, Stanton, if you want to continue asking for it, I won't feel any qualms about calling attention to the fact that you can't either read or think.

Calcedonian, Find somewhere in any of what I wrote here or anywhere else where I endorsed any of the ideas of creationism. I never have. Not that I think you would look or that it would stop you from lying about it.

Steve C. Considering what a great success the infantile snark of neo-atheism in defense of evolution has been - what is it these days, two-thirds of Americans reject evolutionary science - please, find some less important kind of science to defend with your winning tactics. Something in the so-called sciences that aren't really science would do just fine.

It would seem like after all that passion and hoopla, Alphabet Soup is actually an agnostic.* Sheesh. Oh, and a concern troll. I'll just say the same thing that many others have said: We've tried being nice and silent and accomodating. It doesn't work.

* Judging from comment #175, anyway. Olzxlz will probably deny it though and make some pompous statement to the effect that he is of no "ism" and blah blah echo chamber blah. Maybe I should just defer to Caledonian.

Most religous americans wouldn't even understand your arguments for religion. Steve C

Sorry, I missed that one. Steve, I haven't made any arguments for religion but for freedom of thought and for people to have the right to think what they want to. I know that's not valued in the PZ cult where everyone is supposed to think the same thing but it's got some fans outside of it.

So in confirming my aand MAJeff's shared observation that you wholly lack any of the alleged people skills you are shaming the atheists over with your unending stream of insults, why can't you answer my question of why Dawkins' behavior excuses the fact that Intelligent Design is not science and that IDiots refuse to do science?

We've tried being nice and silent and accomodating. It doesn't work. Rey Fox

Yeah, and it's worked so well being jerks too. Maybe you can get the figure that accepts evolution down to ten percent by the end of the decade.

And I wasn't being pompous, I was being sarcastic. My general readership seems to be able to handle the vocabulary.

o, still not really all there. Stick around, read some threads, and you will see it isn't groupthink and obeisance to the divine PZ here.

Again with the "neo-atheist" BS. A dollar says I've been sans theism longer than your existence.

And don't let me forget, oh please write something insulting.

You know, Stanton,it's possible for the IDers to be dishonest and Dawkins to be an impractical egoist all at the same time, you do realize that is a possibility. It's not just about the white hat and the black hat in real life. Sometimes more than one side can do stupid and dishonest things. I just wish Dawkins would go back to England and ruin the Public Understanding of Science there instead of here.

As for my people skills, well, looking around at the other comments, I'm just speaking your language. That it's you instead of someone else who is the target doesn't change the fact that that's the way you guys talk around here.

Stanton, MaJeff, I only insulted those who were asking for it.

Bullshit. You attacked from moment one.

We've tried being nice and silent and accomodating. It doesn't work. Rey Fox

When. We atheists have been putting up with theist attacks on our character, on our value, on our lives for a hell of a long time. You're no better than Roberston, Fallwell, or Nazinger.

Among other things, you fail to realize that much of the ire many atheists, including Mr Dawkins, produce is because of the way multitudes of religious people use their faith as an aegis for their own stupidity. Once I argued with a Coptic Christian who told me that learning about this world is useless and pointless because we're going to die and enter into the Next World. Please explain to me why I should respect such gross nihilism. Furthermore, the way you and Dembski have been "framing" Mr Dawkins' irascibility strongly suggests that the ID movement owes all of their dishonest tricks, all of their ill-gotten popularity AND their total inability to do science to Mr Dawkins. This is simply not true.
Lastly, please show me where I, myself, have personally insulted you. I do feel that it is important to remind you that if Professor Myers so chooses, he can ban you for your own behavior, given as how "slagging," or producing an unending stream of insults is a bannable offense in this blog.

I do feel that it is important to remind you that if Professor Myers so chooses, he can ban you for your own behavior, given as how "slagging," or producing an unending stream of insults is a bannable offense in this blog.

Pandagon uses bunny videos. Squid videos maybe? Or even photos of lovely ika nigiri?

#140 ONINI explains matters:

Felicia Gilliam, I wasn't trying to accomplish anything I look at PZ's blog to see if he's still being a bigot who is more interested in projecting his obnoxious personality than in the welfare of science education in the public schools. Since the answer every time I've looked is, clearly not, I don't think it was a matter of wanting to accomplish anything.

I'd feel embarrassed if I were to say the opposite of what I mean.

By John Morales (not verified) on 19 Sep 2007 #permalink

It would seem like after all that passion and hoopla, Alphabet Soup is actually an agnostic.

After a quick scan of his blog, I'd have to class him as an ignostic theist.

Bullshit. You attacked from moment one.

Posted by: MAJeff

MAJeff, Oooh, did the mean old man offend you by pointing out that Sigworth had a better record of published science than PZ starting at #14? Well, someone who attacks a more accomplished person on the basis he went after Sigworth is begging for a comparison like that. If PZ wanted to he could try going back to science and take his chances with peer review but he'd probably have to give up this sure ego booster to do it.

Try reading the other PZites before and after that to see what kind language is common among you.

You're a bunch of crybabies who can dish it out but if someone dishes it back you hitch up your little pinnies and run crying to daddy.

Hey, ban me. You think it would make me cry?

John Morales, the answer is anyone who isn't an addle brained neo-atheist can figure out that PZ's not as interested in protecting science in the public schools as he is in exerting his obnoxious personality. Talk about having to spell it out for you. It's blog commenting, jeesh! You kiddies will grasp at any straw no matter how small to make a straw man.

I've been looking for normal, grown up, atheists on the web, I guess they don't come places like this.

I've been looking for normal, grown up, atheists on the web, I guess they don't come places like this.

I have to side with those who think the attitudes you're encountering are largely due to the attitude you brought with you. If you tried engaging in a constructive manner, you might find the kind of discussion you're looking for.

ONINI (#199) seems not to be embarrassed by my comment (#196):

It's blog commenting, jeesh! You kiddies will grasp at any straw no matter how small to make a straw man

Ah, I hadn't realised. So, may I know what this strawman with which (by definition) I misrepresent your position in the argument I did not make is?

By John Morales (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

John Morales, I'd rather be caught for leaving out two words in a sentence than I would the display of bigoted group think that's the standard here.

Martin M. Go back to my response #16 to your stupid response at #15 about #14. It's still my answer.

no the mean old man didn't offend me, he lied.

You really are a disingenuous fuck aren't you.

John Morales, I'd rather be caught for leaving out two words in a sentence than I would the display of bigoted group think that's the standard here.

Very clever!
This time, I found the two words left out.

I'd rather be caught for leaving out two words in a sentence than I would for participating in the display of bigoted group think that's the standard here.

Darn, that's three. I see the stakes are increasing...

By John Morales (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

John Morales, apparently the attention span here requires that no form of ellipsis should be used. I knew that reading skills had fallen, I just hadn't realized by how much. You see, among the people I usually deal with they'd have been able to grasp the meaning in informal writing. It'll take some use to getting used to writing for those who can't.

I hope you don't have anything to do with symbolic notation, you'd be completely at a loss for meaning.

I think I'll change my name and go underground. Won't that be fun?

Oh goody, sockpuppetry.

Again, what a disingenuous fuck.

Have you ever tried anything in good faith?

I suspect my ego is far too puny for me to have any substantive inkling of the true suffering that must afflict you, ONINI, when it occasions that you must deign, should you wish to be understood by such as I, to write grammatically and even to perhaps redact in such a way that your sentences express what you mean to say rather than the opposite.

By John Morales (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

Why must you people feel the troll?

By Caledonian (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

Caledonian #210: Yeah, you're quite right. Sorry all.

(Though to answer your rhetorical question, I see there's 493,601 comments posted so far...)

By John Morales (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

Have you ever tried anything in good faith?

Posted by: MAJeff

In good what? Faith? Surely you don't want to go using language like that here? Or was it another accusation of covert religion? Good faith, good Lord, you'll have to call for banning yourself if you keep that up.

Actually, I just wanted to see how high you'd jump. Not high enough to be amusing, but I suppose you did the best you could.

I'm done with this semi-annual inspection of the PZ cult. See you next Spring.

What's hilarious about olvlzl is that it claims to be a progressive (at times) and yet mirrors the exact rhetoric of the fundamentalists he'd prefer to hang out with. Cult, sycophants. Sounds just like an MRA at Pandagon or Shakesville or Feministe...maybe not as bright, though just as hateful

If I had a dollar for every time a troll said they'd leave and never come back, but came back anyway, I'd be rich enough to turn London into my own personal "Dinoland Adventure Park."

Geez, you guys. This fellow is just doing the old middle-school bully thing, getting the "smart kids" he's jealous of to pay attention to him and dance to his tune. It's very affirming for him to bait a bunch of scientists into a back-and-forth -- so don't let him.

By Madam Pomfrey (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

Why must you people feel the troll?

Kinky!

Martin M. Go back to my response #16 to your stupid response at #15 about #14. It's still my answer.

So you'd rather show off your prejudice than even attempt a meaningful discussion. Disappointing, but hardly surprising.