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Ken Miller up to his old tricks . . .

This just in from a colleague and posted with his permission. For the record:

  1. I did not withdraw from the Dover case — the Thomas More Law Center fired me over a perceived conflict of interest relating to my role as academic editor of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (the publisher of the book in question — OF PANDAS AND PEOPLE). I was frankly looking forward to being deposed by the ACLU and staring them down at the trial. Perhaps another trial is in the offing, and Ken and I can finally have our day in court.
  2. The Vise Strategy was first announced here and posted on my designinference.com website after the trial (http://www.designinference.com/documents/2005.11.Vise_Strategy.pdf), yes, but I wrote it for the Thomas More Law Center prior to the trial to assist them in their preparation (I didn’t post it till afterward so as not to advantage the other side).
  3. For a movement that is in its death throes, I, as one of its principal advocates, am looking at more speaking engagements than I can fulfill and very generous honoraria (I suspect more than Ken Miller receives). A good gauge for when a movement enters death throes is when people stop talking about it being in death throes and simply ignore it as something that is of no consequence and indistinguisable from something that doesn’t exist. In short, when Ken Miller stops giving public talks against ID, we’ll know that the movement is in its death throes (that, or he’ll have converted to our side).

Wednesday’s annual Cultural Lecture by Ken Miller at
the NIH was on ID vs. SCIENCE. As told in mainly a
historical narrative, we were taken to Bill Dembski’s
blog, shown files from the Discovery Institute, the
cover of “The Lie” by Ken Ham, cartoons from Answers
in Genesis, shown textual modifications in “Of Pandas
and People”, arguments from horse, whale and fish
fossils, chromosmal differences between humans and
chimps, and accounts of the Dover trial—which
included deposition lawyers finding a smoking gun at a
Texas hotel, as Bill Dembski mysteriously didn’t
show—he speculated that DI told everyone but the 3
pro-ID witnesses to drop out of the trial, because
they realized that no one could actually defend ID in
a court of law. It was a tour de force 1 hr roller
coaster that was quite emotion grabbing, and I’m
leaving out the funniest part, which was his showing
his appearance on “The Colbert Report”. While that had
comedic value, it was interesting that he used that
clip to show how the issue of Darwinism quickly
changes to religion, as though Stephen Colbert asks
his questions in sincerity and not for hilarity.

At any rate, when questions came up, they were pretty
tame.
1) Is Lamarckianism more of a threat than ID?-No,
because we can incorporate it into Darwinian
evolution.
2) The exact wording escapes me but it was pretty
insignificant.
3) In chimp–>human evolution, how did the fusion of
two of the 4 chromosomes become homozygous?
Interbreeding.

Anyway, you can watch the whole thing here:
http://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?13379, if you’d
like to see “the vise strategy” treated as though it
was about his excitement prior to Dover, but certainly
not reflective of an ID advocate’s perspective
post-Dover, when it was actually a comment post-Dover,
reflecting the way that the other side needs to be
questioned. That was the really interesting
part–overall, he sold the historical story as being a
conflict that is nearly over, that the debate is so
one-sided that
we are watching anti-SCIENCE people in the death
throes. Misusing chronological order and more, he
certainly made it seem that way…..but I suppose that
because these are misrepresentations, only public
confidence will soar. Meanwhile, there were the somber
moments when he noted that we are 2nd to the bottom
(just above Turkey) in terms of accepting Darwinism.

Which brings me to my question, that has probably been
discussed in detail in the past, but perhaps not…..
When I survey the various views on Darwin it seems to
me that Miller is right–the Americans who are
skeptical of Darwin aren’t afraid of him, they are
afraid of Dawkins. Of course, they associate the two,
in holding to similar points in the history of life on
earth. To me this is almost identical to the fact that
most American Christians (and perhaps those from other
countries) distrust Muslims–they may not be
fundamentalists, but they are linked to those
jihadists. As I have said to those of my friends who
are Muslims, to me the real issue in disproving this
idea that all Muslims are supportive of terror would
need to come from within–whenever we hear clear
denunciations of terror it goes a long way to
vindicate those Muslims who are for peace.

I guess my point in bringing this analogy up is,
ultimately the books by Dawkins et al. outsell Miller
et al., and Miller et al. seem to be doing nothing
directly to rebut Dawkins et al., and thus the
incredulity of most Americans with regard to the idea
that evolution can comport with theism will remain. By
the way, yes, Francis Collins was in the front row at
this talk.

Well, I’d appreciate any comments on the way that
different religious perspectives within Darwinism
interact and argue……

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8 Responses to Ken Miller up to his old tricks . . .

  1. Willam Dembski wrote: “I was frankly looking forward to being deposed by the ACLU and staring them down at the trial. Perhaps another trial is in the offing, and Ken and I can finally have our day in court. ”

    This sure doesn’t sound like the wimpy timid WD that is always talked about in the anti-ID literature. I hope I get to witness that day when Ken and you get to duke it out. I have a hunch it won’t be pretty.

  2. I’m confused about the commentary about the “Vise Strategy”. It was posted on UncommonDescent back in May 11,2005 (post #59). It didn’t contain as much detail as your pdf, but it existed. In his talk, Ken Miller says that it was posted on your blog on May 11 (pre-Dover, and he is correct). The block text above says that it was post-Dover (false). And I can’t figure out whether you are claiming that the “Vice Strategy” was pre or post Dover (it sounds like you are claiming it was written pre-Dover, but not publically released until post-Dover; that’s incorrect since you posted it on this website on May 11, 2005). So, who wrote the block text you quoted? You didn’t provide a link or attribute the quote to anyone.

  3. BC: Calm yourself. A teaser was published pre-trial, but the full version was only published afterward.

  4. rfp_ID wrote:
    “This sure doesn’t sound like the wimpy timid WD that is always talked about in the anti-ID literature. I hope I get to witness that day when Ken and you get to duke it out. I have a hunch it won’t be pretty. ”

    Ditto on that one. I listened to Miller speak at KU a few weeks ago with basically the same speech in this post. I also heard WD at KU a few months ago.

    Bill, you would blow the guy out of the water. I’d give my right arm to see a debate between the two of you.

    Can’t we set that up, Dude??? I’m kinda thinkin’ Ken won’t go for it, though.

  5. “… when Ken Miller stops giving public talks against ID, we’ll know that the movement is in its death throes (that, or he’ll have converted to our side).”

    It almost sounds that way now, given his theistic beliefs. For that reason, many of his arguments against ID seem contradictory.

    Before commenting on ‘vise strategies’, I’d like to comment on Wednesday’s NIH talk. Miller gets right into the Dover trial, comparing it to Scopes, and recalling, with some pride, his role as lead witness for the Plaintiffs. Within minutes, he’s into his twisted logic of comparing evolution not to the theory of gravity as many do, but to atomic theory, and saying if you say that evolution is theory not (proven) fact, you’re stating that ‘theory’ and ‘fact’ are opposites. He asked an interviewer if we call atomic theory a theory since we don’t yet know that atoms exist? He uses that flawed logic to defend not questioning any aspect of evolutionary theory, and by extension Neo Darwinism.

    He cites ‘Answers in Genesis’ as the leading anti-evolution site, but fails to differentiate it from ID’s precepts. Instead, using the Wedge document, some of Phillip Johnson’s statements and others, he again conflates ID with religion as he did at the trial. He summarizes the lessons learned from Dover as constituting the “complete collapse of ID, since it doesn’t remotely resemble a scientific theory”, and as it being a “religious doctrine, masquerading as science.”

    Particularly irritating was his recounting of the ‘document pile’ that Behe and Rothschild had to keep peeking around to be seen, and the courtroom laughter that occurred when one of them asked, “Your honor, can I move the evidence aside?” Reminded me of some of the theatrics in the Simpson trial, like “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” In the days ahead, theatrics must be replaced with logical arguments based on facts, and in a more fairly moderated setting.

    At one point in his talk, he compared the trial to a ballgame in which the plaintiff had the final ‘ups’ in the 9th inning. There’s some truth there, since most of the plaintiff’s arguments went unchallenged. Had some of these ‘vise strategies’ been used as rebuttal, it could well have gone the other way.

    These strategies focus on nailing down definitions and specifics regarding the meaning of science, nature, creation, design and evolution. Then come the cross examinations, which as presented here, are quite grueling. Baring getting this done in a trial setting, public debates between proponents could go a long way toward furthering public and the science community’s understanding of the ‘true’ issues.

  6. “Bill, you would blow the guy out of the water. I’d give my right arm to see a debate between the two of you. Can’t we set that up, Dude??? I’m kinda thinkin’ Ken won’t go for it, though. ”

    Dr Dembski debated Dr Miller and others once at the American Museum of Natural History. It was an evening that Dr. Dembski would probably rather forget. Want to see a transcript?

  7. http://ncseweb.org/article.asp?category=15

    Basically what it comes down to is that Bill was being honest about the scope of ID and its limitations and they spent most of their time baiting him on subjects where ID is noncommittal instead of sticking to the core issues. Top that with a limited time, apparently a lot of stuttering, and I’d agree that it wasn’t a very good public showing (at least, going by the transcript). Then Miller brings up Indirect Darwinian Pathways without ever tacitly admitting that Direct Darwinian Pathways are still quite at issue and leaves Behe a minute to respond…like such a complex subject can be tackled in that short a time. That section with Behe vs Pennock was even sillier.

  8. If Miller thinks can debate Bill and influence public opinion, by all means let him. Much more is known now about his slimey approach to truth and it is also a matter of public record how he misrepresented things under oath.

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