Home » Intelligent Design » ID award recipient not named for own protection …

ID award recipient not named for own protection …

I notice that at Overwhelming Evidence, Sam Chen announces that a student sympathetic to intelligent design has received the Cassey Luskin Graduate Award, but

The recipient of the 2008 Casey Luskin Graduate Award will remain anonymous for the protection of the recipient….

It’s interesting to reflect on that in view of the many legacy media know-nothings panning the Expelled documentary, insisting that there is no evidence that anyone has suffered discrimination on account of sympathy for design as a feature of nature.

And they wonder why the blogosphere is whacking the heck out of them …

On most of the issues I monitor, the fact is that, agree or disagree, I can no longer get reliable and timely information from these sources. They seem to have hunkered into their bunker, repeating their well-worn beliefs to people who don’t really care.

Also, just up at The Mindful Hack:

Creating belief systems more essential to our humanity than making tools?

Neuroscience: How complex is your brain? More than you can easily imagine!

Hunting, herding, hiding, and hustling – that explains our social relationships?

Psychiatrist Jeff Schwartz speaks on what drugs can do for you – and what you and your mind must do for yourself

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47 Responses to ID award recipient not named for own protection …

  1. 1

    Denyse O’Leary, a quote from a quote in your article of yesterday:

    [Steve Fuller, witness for the defense in Kitzmiller,] provides interesting examples of how religiously inspired ID views have driven the work of many eminent biologists, and suggests that ID should be promoted as “an openly religious viewpoint with scientific aspirations.”

    I agree with Fuller, and in the context of this thread recall immediately what the pseudonymous Mike Gene has written (as quoted here by William Dembski):

    I should make it explicitly clear from the start that I did not write this book to help those seeking to change the way we teach science to our kids. I do not argue that design deserves to be known as science. At best, Intelligent Design may only be a nascent proto-science and thus does not belong in the public school curriculum. Nor does this book argue that evolution is false and deserves to be criticized in the public school curriculum. If the truth is to be told, I oppose such actions.

    A big public-relations problem for ID theory in the scientific community is that leading theorists have associated themselves with the ID movement. And the ID movement is all about proclaiming ID theory science — already.

    Fuller, as a sociology professor, knows very well that the “ground rules” of science are part of an evolving culture. There is nothing wrong with working openly to show that the ground rules should be changed to permit explanations of nature that are presently excluded.

    If all ID theorists were like “Mike Gene,” there would be no reason for them to hide their identities. The problem for people legitimately pursuing change in what constitutes science is those illegitimately declaring, without doing the hard work to achieve change, that ID is science and that the scientific establishment opposes ID because of ideological commitment to materialism, if not atheism.

    It is ironic that Casey Luskin, as a paid political activist in the intelligent design movement, has done a great deal to make it unsafe for grad students to express openly their interest in ID theory.

  2. Atticus Finch, thanks for being part of the problem.

    Now, would you please give your real name, if it is not Atticus Finch.

    No one is likely to persecute you. That usually happens to people who know evidence against materialist proclamations, not people who split hairs about how the evidence should be advanced, by whom, and what words should be used.

    Yes, my real name is Denyse O’Leary, and almost everything that is of any importance about me is public record. Who are YOU?

  3. Denyse, You’re too kind (to Atticus that is). I’ve booted him/her off the forum. If SETI is science, then ID is science. The burden is on those who want to say that ID isn’t science. In particular, the very possibility of finding evidence for design in biology makes ID a science. One can dispute the strength of the evidence for it, but then again, one can dispute the strength of the evidence for Darwinism (does the fossil record really support common descent via small undirected changes?).

    As for your post, I run into this all the time where correspondents ask to be kept anonymous to preserve their careers. The most notable case was an old mathematician friend of mine from the University of Chicago (now elsewhere) who didn’t want to be acknowledged for providing the crucial help I needed to prove a theorem that is the key to a paper Bob Marks and I currently have under submission at THE JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL BIOLOGY (well, actually, no, it’s not been submitted there; but if it were and if I had just announced it here, you can be sure the editors at JTB would hear about it and be urged to reject it).

  4. 4

    I have no idea who “Atticus Finch” is and if he/she wants to attack me publicly behind the cover of a pseudonym, that’s his prerogative. Finch’s comments are like saying that it’s the fault of the African-American protestors in the 1960′s when they got arrested even when they were engaging in peaceful, law-abiding protests for civil rights.

    The bottom line is that when you work for freedom, the oppressors in the system increase the persecution. So it’s not my fault that the climate is hostile towards ID. I stand against persecution. It’s the fault of the Darwinists who persecute ID-proponents.

    But I hope that through my past work with IDEA Clubs, promoting serious and friendly discussions about ID on college campuses in a peaceful and respectful fashion, I have done something to de-politicize the situation.

    There’s another problem with Atticus Finch’s comments, namely that he/she has absolutely no idea what he/she is talking about. One of my primary responsibilities in my job is to actually DISCOURAGE people from trying to push ID into public schools because that would politicize the situation even further. I recently published an article in Salvo Magazine stating precisely this position:

    “I don’t think the solution is to force intelligent design (ID) into schools. Whenever ID has been required by a school district, it has immediately generated controversy, which politicizes the theory. The long-term success of ID depends on its scientists having opportunities to produce good scientific research and scholarship rather than being dragged before courts or school boards to defend ill-advised evolution-education policies. … The reasons ID should not be required in schools stem not, as some assert, from any lack of content with which to form an ID-based science curriculum. Nor is it because ID is unconstitutional. The priority of the ID movement is to see ID develop as a scientific theory, and forcing ID into schools would take the debate out of the scientific realm and turn it into a political hot potato.” (Casey Luskin, “What do ID Proponents Want Taught in Public Schools,” Salvo Magazine, Issue 4, Winter 2008, pages. 73-74, emphasis added)

    So I actually advocate policies that aspire to de-politicize the situation.

    Another dimension of my job is to assist students and faculty who are victims of this persecution.
    But I’m trying to help end the persecution. On a daily basis I see persecution of ID proponents that no one even hears about because we can’t make it public–to protect the victims. Those like Atticus Finch who blame the victims are part of the problem, not the solution.

  5. My reputation for being kind is entirely undeserved!

    I was planning to express outrage at the use of the name “Atticus Finch” under the circumstances.

    But I needed to be sure it was not this individual’s actual name. Sometimes a person has a name that people think they made up to get attention – even though they were not seeking any attention.

  6. The problem with Atticus’ point is that “religion” like “evolution” has multiple meanings. Some of what ID is about can be understood as “religious” just because it requires faith in the accuracy of abstract concepts like SC and design- but then again ethics is the same way.

    To me the abstract concepts like SC and design are the issues that are really in question here. What do they mean, and where do they begin and end? ID has the problem that “everything” could be designed- yet for ID to be a science there needs to be criteria that are objectively warranted.

    Where design and evolution begin and end is very difficult to tell. Yet to me ID has not been disproved nor is the other side even in a strong position to show it superfluous. Therefore, as long as ID remains on the table it is a competing scientific alternative explanation for origins.

    The real question is where will ID take us? ID needs to be turned into a fruitful scientific paradigm if it is to replace Darwinism. It will only be able to do this when it’s advocates are able to show why ID is the superior road for the progress of science to take.

    Until then the dialectic remains- the heated controversy exists.

  7. So ID’s relation to religion is warrented in a certain sense.. but as Kurt Godel once remarked the problems between the relationships between science and religion are for the most part the result of us “not suitably enhancing our understandings.”

  8. Frost 122585 wrote:

    “ID needs to be turned into a fruitful scientific paradigm if it is to replace Darwinism. It will only be able to do this when it’s advocates are able to show why ID is the superior road for the progress of science to take.”

    Perhaps. Further examples from ongoing and future research will certainly increase the weight of the evidence. But I think it is already clear that thinking about biology in a design-centric way is far superior to supposing most biological systems are the result of a Darwinian RM+NS mechanism. While the latter has scarcely produced any fruit and has, in many cases, stifled scientific inquiry, the design approach is already widely used in the science community. It seems the primary thing remaining is to get folks to acknowledge that they are using a design-centric approach in applied biology and stop parroting fanciful just-so stories that prop up the materialist creation myth.

  9. A big public-relations problem for ID theory in the scientific community is that leading theorists have associated themselves with the ID movement.

    No s*%#, you think a new set of ideas that attempt to explain what we observe around us is just going to magically gain acceptance without a need for a movement???

    I’m so sure Darwin’s ideas did not require his followers to gather together and spread the good news to various people in order for his ideas to gain acceptance and notoriety in the form of a movement (yes I’m comparing him to a cult leader, sue me).

    There is nothing wrong with working openly to show that the ground rules should be changed to permit explanations of nature that are presently excluded.

    Looks like someone has fallen for the “ID is not science” BS we hear all the time, and also seems to think that they already know ahead of time what science is, and what ID is. Because I’m so damn sick of hearing this, let me go over the top reasons I hear when people say ID is not science:

    1.It’s not testable falsifiable- You’re joking right? A theory which everyone claims to have not only tested but completely falsified isn’t even falsifiable in the first place? What’s that I hear:

    “But Mr. you can’t study the intelligence so it’s not science…”

    True… except it’s the EFFECTS of intelligence we care about. We can come across an arrowhead and draw conclusions completely independent of knowing the tribe, seeing them make it, knowing what “mechanisms” they used, etc.

    Sure as hell seems testable to me.

    2.It makes no predictions- Just look up it’s definition, and you’ll get one big-ass prediction there folks.

    3.ID is not based on natural law- Cool afterthought, but unless science is supposed to be one great big philosophical showcase, this is pointless. And besides, ID is focused on observable features in the natural world, so I don’t see any interference there.

    4.Design Detection is not currently a part of science- To make this statement true, we need to act now and cut all funding for SETI, and that would only be a start if one wanted this claim to be true… and even if design were not a part of science today, this does not mean it never will be.

    5.ID is starting off with a conclusion, which is not what science does- Oh really? Seems like every major theory from Newton’s theory of gravity to Darwin’s theory itself breaks this exact same rule…

    6.But it’s not instantly repeatable in the lab- Neither is the evolution of life over the past 3.85 billion years, so Darwin was just as guilty.

    7.ID does no scientific research- Wonder what the hell is going on here then:

    http://www.biologicinstitute.org/

    8.ID is not science because it ain’t published in peer-review journals- Ok, we apologize for expressing views that may upset people of certain ideologies who get to decide what they like and don’t like in their precious periodicals, but we sure would like a reason for WHY they refuse to publish anything we come up with and submit.

    Besides:

    “We won’t publish this.”

    “But why?”

    “Because it’s not science.”

    “How is it not science?”

    “Because it has no peer-review papers.”

    Hmmmmmm, I smell a loop-hole.

    9. There are no practical applications of ID- A practical application right off the bat is expanding our knowledge of the natural world (would list more, but don’t have the patience). If that isn’t an application then we may as well throw out research on the big bang.

    Besides, what exactly have the benefits been from assuming we all rose up from a primordial sludge and became (through chance and necessity) the diversity of life we see today? Seems like every “application” of evolution I know of involves knowledge of adaptations people have been aware of for centuries.

    10. ID has supernatural/philosophical implications- Great, let’s save money from researching the big bang since that realm of thought is guilty of the same thing. Oh, and if Dawkins thinks evolution has such strong implications against god, and if Barbara Forrest thinks evolution is a key aspect of her philosophical thinking, then yes, we must remove Darwin’s ideas from the classroom.

    So there yah go folks. The top ten reasons I hear on why ID is not science. Of course another claim is that it’s religious.

    11.Wedge document- That’s been addressed before:

    http://www.discovery.org/a/2101

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....s_k_3.html

    12.Pandas Drafts- See the above point and the following links:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....s_k_4.html

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....038;id=649

    If all ID theorists were like “Mike Gene,” there would be no reason for them to hide their identities.

    Ummmmm, I can think of several reasons why someone would want to keep anonymous even if they don’t instantaneously declare ID as science…

    Even Mike Gene wouldn’t risk their day job by even SUGGESTING that ID might have some truth to it.

    It is ironic that Casey Luskin, as a paid political activist in the intelligent design movement, has done a great deal to make it unsafe for grad students to express openly their interest in ID theory.

    It is even more ironic that you would accuse one of the most tenacious defenders for ID of that; simply because he’s doing everything it takes to make it possible for ID advocates to have the ammunition to support their views.

    I can’t express in words how often I cite articles by him on Evolution News in the middle of a flamewar. If things unfold in certain ways, I just might feel compelled to do what he does and DI everyday. I don’t live too far from Seattle, maybe that might become a possibility.

  10. I was planning to express outrage at the use of the name “Atticus Finch” under the circumstances.

    Good observation, there is some Irony to the usage of that name while blaming victims of their own persecution.

    (I believe I’ve had to read To Kill a Mocking Bird 3 times back in high school).

    Oh, and when I said there were no applications for Darwin’s theory (in the sense of macro-evolutionary changes), I was wrong:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj2LJ8Lrmrw

  11. I’m removing your feed from my newsreader since you censor postings. There is no free discourse. I think this really hit home in the post where you described yourself as the only male in a biology class and asserted that you always had the best answer. That’s why you censor readers postings, because you believe you always have the best answer. I suppose I could extrapolate that to the ID movement not being able to stand up to critical examination.
    Adios,
    greg strockbine

  12. 12

    Reminds me of the practice of popes appointing cardinals “in pectore” — “in the breast.” The cardinals are often known only to the pope — often the appointees themselves do not know that they have been appointed.

    Two questions –

    (1) Is this intended to be an anonymous award?

    (2) Is the award for graduates or for graduate students?

  13. gstrock

    If ID won’t stand up to critical examination then why all the fuss about it? There’s no big controversy over any other bits of “science” other than mud to man evolution and global warming. Why?

  14. 14

    DaveScot said (#13) –
    There’s no big controversy over any other bits of “science” other than mud to man evolution and global warming. Why?

    There is a big controversy over string theory — a lot of physicists are doing research on it but a lot of other physicists consider it to be unscientific. There is a big controversy over whether thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines, is a factor in autism. There must be a lot of little scientific controversies that are not in the news.

  15. Correction: “…what he does at* DI everyday.”

    I’m removing your feed from my newsreader since you censor postings. There is no free discourse.

    Gee, wonder how your comment showed up in the first place, and why Bob’Oh still has posting privileges if that was really true.

    That’s why you censor readers postings, because you believe you always have the best answer.

    No, postings are censored so people who are sympathetic of ID can have an oasis for free discussion that isn’t polluted by random trolls.

    I suppose I could extrapolate that to the ID movement not being able to stand up to critical examination.

    No you can’t since it was false to begin with, and even if it were true cannot automatically apply to every last person in the ID movement in such a different context.

    Hmmm, a theory and a movement that refuses not to stand up to scrutiny. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

  16. There is a big controversy over string theory — a lot of physicists are doing research on it but a lot of other physicists consider it to be unscientific. There is a big controversy over whether thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines, is a factor in autism.

    Larry, will taking a strong stand on whatever side of these issues jeopardize anyone’s tenure track? Or will an establishment journal refuse to publish a paper solely due to the position one holds on these issues?

    I think that’s the point being made.

  17. —–“ID needs to be turned into a fruitful scientific paradigm if it is to replace Darwinism. It will only be able to do this when it’s advocates are able to show why ID is the superior road for the progress of science to take.”

    To show design in nature from a scientific perspective is, in itself, a noble accomplishment, and I don’t think that such progress should be trivialized on the grounds that it has not yet produced a medical miracle or some amazing technical breakthrough. Indeed, it is this same openness to purposeful function in nature that will, in time, yield practical scientific benefits. One thing sure, ID does not have a tough act to follow. The theory of evolution has not produced one single benefit for mankind in 150 years.

    More to the point, we need to understand where these breakthroughs come from and why they happen. Freedom of speech produces innovation and not the other way around. Darwinists want to reverse the natural order of things by granting ID scientists their freedom of speech AFTER they produce something of practical value. They insist that Dembski, Behe, Meyer and associates should have to EARN the right to express themselves. Obviously, that is not the way the world works, and it explains why freedom-hating Darwinists seldom produce anything of value. They can only survive as parasites on the freedom-loving innovators outside the community. The formal name for this phenomenon is “tenure,” and its function is to protect the parasite from the producer.

  18. The point *I* was making is that there is really nothing else in science where the controversy is a national dialog extending beyond the scientific community into politics and courtrooms.

    String theory isn’t theory in the strict sense of the word. It’s not even a hypothesis unless it makes testable predictions. I don’t see much possibility of Judge Jones ruling on whether string theory is or is not science nor do I see much possibility of the president of the United States saying he thinks we should teach the subject in public schools so everyone knows what the controversy in string theory is about.

    On censorship here… the majority of those comments that don’t get through moderation simply lack sufficient knowledge of ID to make any arguments that constructively add to the dialog. Most of them don’t even know that ID doesn’t deny universal common descent. Many others use trite arguments that have been discussed to death already. Others are just belligerent from the word go and yet others are from people who have blogs where they reveal their intolerance for ID but try to mask it in order to comment here. We choose to publish little to none of the above.

  19. Atticus Finch’s lame attempt to de-legitimize the use of pseudonyms is nothing short of laughable. In the real world, the use of pseudonyms has a long and august history.

    As a young man, Benjamin Franklin — denied the privilege of writing for his brother’s newspaper where he was an apprentice — slipped his work in under his brother’s nose by using the pseudonym “Mrs. Silence Dogood.” Who was supposed to be a middle-aged widow. Later, in Poor Richard’s Almanac, even though everyone knew Franklin was the writer, he wrote under the by-line “Richard Saunders.” Just for fun.

    Meanwhile Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, the writers of the Federalist Papers — which were published while the US Constitution was being debated — collectively used the pseudonym “Publius.” Because, as members of the Constitutional Convention, they had been sworn to secrecy. But as representatives of the people, they believed that the citizens had a need and a right to know. And indeed, so did many other convention members.

    But another historical use of pseudonyms has been to enable a writers to publish politically-incorrect truths, facts, and opinions with some measure of protection to their lives and worldly weal.

    Voltaire, for instance, used the pseudonym of “François-Marie Arouet” when he wrote A Treatise on Toleration in 1763. With good reason too. In 1716 he had been exiled from Paris for five months, and from 1717 to 1718 he was imprisoned in the Bastille, for lampoons against the Regency.

  20. No, postings are censored so people who are sympathetic of ID can have an oasis for free discussion that isn’t polluted by random trolls.

    Oh dear. Does that mean I’m an intelligently designed troll?

  21. For everyone wondering why Bob O’H is here you need wonder no longer. We needed a token Irishman to meet our cultural diversity goals.

  22. 22

    DaveScot said (# 18) –

    The point *I* was making is that there is really nothing else in science where the controversy is a national dialog extending beyond the scientific community into politics and courtrooms.

    There have been lawsuits over thimerosal and Bendectin (the drug accused of causing birth defects in the landmark Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals case).

    I don’t see much possibility of Judge Jones ruling on whether string theory is or is not science nor do I see much possibility of the president of the United States saying he thinks we should teach the subject in public schools so everyone knows what the controversy in string theory is about.

    I agree — there is no principle of constitutional separation of bad science and state. Scientific issues in the evolution controversy are no business of the courts. The courts should rule that scientific issues in the evolution controversy are non-justiciable, just as the courts treated the global-warming controversy as non-justiciable in Massachusetts v. EPA. Questions are non-justiciable when there is “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards,” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267, 277-78 (2004). Court rulings on scientific issues in the evolution controversy are like court rulings on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And establishment-clause “monkey trials” just involve a “right to not be offended” — there is no issue of possible real damage as in suits concerning product liability and global warming.

    On censorship here… the majority of those comments that don’t get through moderation simply lack sufficient knowledge of ID to make any arguments that constructively add to the dialog. Most of them don’t even know that ID doesn’t deny universal common descent. Many others use trite arguments that have been discussed to death already. Others are just belligerent from the word go and yet others are from people who have blogs where they reveal their intolerance for ID but try to mask it in order to comment here. We choose to publish little to none of the above.

    Well, Dave, I guess you are aware that I think that these overly strict commenting rules hurt the credibility of Uncommon Descent.

  23. “Well, Dave, I guess you are aware that I think that these overly strict commenting rules hurt the credibility of Uncommon Descent.” –Larry Fafarman

    Yet UD has managed to be one of the most well-mannered sites for discussions of science and origins, thus fulfilling its purpose of providing ID proponents a place to exchange ideas.

    “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” –Robert A. Heinlein

  24. Perhaps it is just my background, how I was raised, or something I’m just not seeing. I was raised on a farm in the Deep South with strict parents, have attended college in two states and taught school and now work in the communications field. For the life of me, I cannot say I’ve ever witnessed in person “discussions” of the type that take place over the internet daily. People just don’t talk to each other like that; at least not adults who are mature and educated. Phooragula’s board is a good example. I had a civil discussion with someone from that board on another site. *But*, as soon as he posted over there, you wouldn’t know if was the same person. An educated person suddenly became a raving, foul-mouthed lunatic. When you speak about UD losing “credibility” (larry at #22), you must mean only as one gang loses credibility with another.

  25. 25

    Well Stephen we are in agreement that ID is a noble cause even if it is not currently, or even will be, a useful paradigm for scientific discovery. My point is political. If we expect ID to be accepted mainstream then it must be useful outside of subjective value. ID really is really not going to spark the interest of many tax dollars state mandates and such if it is not shown to be objectively beneficial to the body politic. Neo DE is a theory and will continue to dominate until ID can be used to explain and expand scientific understanding further than it already is. That is, the theory of ID is already cogent- it’s usefulness and pragmatic value has yet to be objectify established. From what I have seen it is in the early stages but needs further development. I do think though that is will bring forth some very useful insights and thwn it will begin to earn it’s stripes as not just some philosophical-theological systmen of interpretation- but as an actual purely sceintific alternative to the neo DE synthesis. With all of the modern tool of computer programming and such I can see a very optimistic and lucrative future for sceintific investigation thought the lense of ID.

  26. Hi folks,

    initially, I visited the site in an attempt to locate Luskin’s rebuttal to Hitchens’ latest piece.

    I couldn’t help but notice Ms. O’Leary’s comment:

    “They seem to have hunkered into their bunker, repeating their well-worn beliefs to people who don’t really care.”

    Though not quite in the same vein as the entry I couldn’t help but wonder – Is this bunker hunkering so different from disabling the comment section of your blog?

    So, while enjoying my mid-afternoon helping of irony, I thought I’d comment.

    In the process I came upon the first comment . It was not likely to be a popular one. But certainly not out of place. It’s to be expected at any public forum discussing such a controversial topic, right?.

    Well it didn’t take long for the whole team to pounce & rebut. Nothing wrong there. I am however having difficulty understanding why this “troll” is worthy of banishment. And From the king of the castle no less. He made a comment free of foul language or harsh accusations.

    You can have your “oasis” and still allow the occasional critique, can you not? Is this so different from bunker hunkering?

    Needless to say the snack turned into a full-on irony buffet. I’m full.

    Sincerely,
    a crude ignorant Darwin-bot troll

  27. 27

    Dear Joel V,

    The decision to turn off comments on Discovery Institute’s blog was made long before I joined Discovery, but my understanding is that the decision was made after observing the fact that many internet Darwinists are incapable of controlling their mouths and commonly write hate-speech against ID proponents, and that comments on Discovery’s evolution blogs would result in a flood of inappropriate comments. Given that I regularly engage with my critics, both on Evolution News and in other private and public correspondence, it seems that your accusations of “bunker hunkering” are inappropriate and unjustified.

    In any case, I think that 2 things need to happen before you have any right to complain about a lack of comments on Discovery’s evolution blogs:

    (1) When Googling the name “Joel V” results more of hits of hate-speech against you than Googling the name “Casey Luskin” returns hate-speech against Casey Luskin.

    (2) When PandasThumb makes it as safe for the average ID proponent to freely express their views without incurring verbal abuse as it is for you to express your views here without incurring verbal abuse.

    Of course neither of those two will ever happen, which I hope gives you a little perspective on the reality of how Darwinists behave on the ‘net in this debate

    Sincerely,

    Casey Luskin
    [email protected]

  28. 28

    p.s. you can find my rebuttal to Hitchens at:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....his_c.html

    …thanks.

  29. Mr. Luskin,

    I admit that I was beginning to think that my response would not be posted. I am humbled.

    I would agree that flamers and trolls have certainly damaged the potential for the comment section (of-many-a-blog) to be an arena for rational discourse and debate.

    That being said,

    a) I thank you for the response. But I was actually referring to Denyse’s fleet of blogs. Mention of your name at the beginning of my post might have been the source of confusion.

    b) You mentioned:

    “which I hope gives you a little perspective on the reality of how Darwinists behave on the ‘net in this debate”

    Internet Darwinists, ID proponents, Catholics, secular Jews, Atheists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, car salesman and any other category you’d care to name, all have their subset of trolls in membership. Certainly. I agree.

    c) I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn. Perhaps not a pejorative to the laymen – but you guys know what you’re doing.

    d) These broad generalizations that all ‘Darwinists’ are hate-spewing barbarians has got to go. It’s just in bad taste. Further, it only results in more useless generalizations from the other camp.

    e) My original question still hasn’t been answered. I do understand the aversion to death-threats, hate-mail, etc. I might even have the capacity to be sympathetic. But what was it that merited the expulsion of Atticus Finch from the discussion?

    f) Finally, I did find the rebuttal. Thanks. P.Z Myers reciprocated.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn....._mouse.php

    Will there be a rebuttal to the rebuttal?

    Best,
    Joel

  30. c) I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn.

    How about if we just agree not to use Darwinoron?

  31. Please see figure B in the appendix.

  32. —–”I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn.”

    So, am I to understand that you consider the term “Darwinist,” which many of your colleagues use to describe their own world view, is the insult equivalent to the term “IDiot?” Your sense of proportionality lags far behind your sense of humor.

  33. Joel V:

    c) I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn. Perhaps not a pejorative to the laymen – but you guys know what you’re doing.

    I fail to see the prejorative in the term “Darwinist”. Is the “ist” suffix fundimentally prejorative? What about violinist? The term IDiot has a clear parallel in the word idiot (an utterly foolish or senseless person).

    The term Darwinist is used by the ID community because we restle not against evolution as defined by common descent (at least some of us don’t) so we see ourselves as Intelligent Design evolutionists. But we wrestle against the simple mechanism (Random Variation + Natural Selection) which was originally popularized by Charles Darwin.

    (And please, don’t go suggesting that there is much more to the MET than RV + NS. We’ve hashed through HGT, genetic drift, variations on mutations, retroviruses, the list of 40 some odd twists on the theme that MacNeill published. They come down to RV+NS and mechanisms that ostensibly developed from these two.)

  34. I think this is where the blogosphere crumbles under the weight of its own accessibility.

    StephanB: If you’re referring to the ‘darwinists’ as “my” colleagues, then I am guessing that they are not also your colleagues. Which leads me to believe that you are not familiar with these individuals who might be my colleagues or the titles by which they define their views on one aspect of biology, themselves, or their “world views”. And in the use of the blanket term ‘Darwinist’ it’s just obvious you’re blindly utilizing a vast generalization fueled by your own motivational bias (it’s alright, we all do it). It’s a tired debate. Look into it a bit.

    And no, I am not calling IDiot the “insult equivalent” of Darwinist. That is why I didn’t say it is the equivalent but rather implied it was a pejorative.

    Perhaps, referring to you as a creationist would be a better comparison.

    So, catch up on current trends, discover the definition of pejorative and refer to appendix B.

    bFAST: You got it. It is the ist that I find to be pejorative

    You’re saying that your version of evolution uses different mechanisms than mine. You are called an Intelligent Design evolutionist. I am called a Darwinist. They’re both just words that define our choice of evolutionary mechanisms.

    What you’re side stepping here is the idea of arbitrary symbols in language. The basis of a word, phonemes or combination of characters doesn’t create any absolute meaning. It’s the concept of the word that carries meaning.

    As above, it’s just a vast generalization. This is a word ID proponents, creationists and certain religious groups use. Essentially, those who are critical of material evolution use this as a blanket term. And this debate is old.

    I’m glad you’ve hashed through modern evolutionary theory. When is the publication date?

    Was any of this necessary? Is this not what makes comment areas become so trivial?

  35. I always thought that “Galapagos Finch” was not only a pun on “Darwin’s finches,” but the “Atticus Finch” of To Kill a Mockingbird. In any case, no one around here would have missed the similarity of the two names when “Atticus Finch” posted.

    What do you suppose was his relationship to Galapagos? Might his answer to Ms. O’Leary’s “Who are YOU?” have turned out to be embarrassing? I mean, it seems strange to cut him off before he could identify himself, and then trounce on him in absentia.

    If I were one of the Expelled, I would bend over backwards to exhibit the sort of tolerance I want from others. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    Atticus was soft on ID. He indicated that Mike Gene was “legitimately pursuing change in what constitutes science.” He agreed with Steve Fuller that “religiously inspired ID views have driven the work of many eminent biologists.” Was there really no value in debating the impact of politicization on ID?

  36. —–joel v: “And in the use of the blanket term ‘Darwinist’ it’s just obvious you’re blindly utilizing a vast generalization fueled by your own motivational bias (it’s alright, we all do it). It’s a tired debate. Look into it a bit.”

    A mainstream Darwinist is simply someone who believes that evolution is a purposeless, mindless, and non-teleological process. An IDer is someone who believes that evolution is a purposeful, mindful, and teleological process. A mainstream TE is someone is who tries to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity. These are perfectly good shorthand terms and they work very well to distinguish one camp from the other. I use the term to clarify, not to insult. Obviously, there are nuances in each camp, but the overall texture of belief holds.

    —–“And no, I am not calling IDiot the “insult equivalent” of Darwinist. That is why I didn’t say it is the equivalent but rather implied it was a pejorative.”

    You suggested that it would be a fair exchange if each side dropped the terms in question. That implies that they are equivalent insults.

    —–“Perhaps, referring to you as a creationist would be a better comparison.”

    No. The purpose of establishing categories is to summarize accurately. A creationist is someone who begins with a religious presupposition. An IDer is someone who begins with an empirical observation. They are not even close to being the same thing. On the other hand, it would seem that your beliefs are consistent with neo-Darwinism or the modern evolutionary synthesis. Still, my mind is open. What term should I apply to you? Which camp are you in? Either evolution was planned with an end in mind or else it just happened. Do you know of a third alternative? The TEs try to have it both ways, but I have higher hopes for you.

  37. Either evolution was planned with an end in mind or else it just happened.

    Perhaps there is no plan or end, but nature is periodically or continually nudged by seemingly random inputs to produce short-term effects. Then again, maybe there are not even desired short-term effects. Perhaps it’s simply fun to perturb the system randomly and watch what happens. Could the cosmos be a wonderful toy?

    There are many positions one can take. The whole thing of “camps” is very primitive, to me.

  38. Oops. 37 is a response to a deleted comment. It’s fine to delete it and this, too. In any case, I’ll emphasize that I’m not actually claiming that the cosmos is a toy. If you think hard enough, you can come up with various feasible positions that no one ever takes.

  39. Joel –Perhaps, referring to you as a creationist would be a better comparison.

    Joel, you may be getting on to something here. Let’s think this through. If you referred to someone who believe the Earth was created in 6 literal days and that Biblical genealogies should be accepted as the final authority as to the age of the Earth as a creationist would he/should he be offended?

    If you referred to someone who believe that it was firmly established beyond any debate that random changes to the genome + NS is the only reasonable explanation for biodiversity as a Darwinist why do you think that person should be offended?

    What would you call such a person?

    I’ll grant you that if you don’t hold to RM+NS as the only reasonable explanation for biodiversity and are called a Darwinist you should seek to correct the perception just as one who uses objective metrics rather than faith to declare biodesign should object to being called a creationist.

  40. Is the “ist” suffix fundimentally prejorative? What about violinist?

    From this point on Itzhak Perlman must be referred to as a fiddler!

  41. —–”Perhaps there is no plan or end, but nature is periodically or continually nudged by seemingly random inputs to produce short-term effects.”

    Inputs from where? Once we use the passive voice to describe active events, suddenly that which is logically impossible can begin to seem possible. Putting self refuting words in the same sentence is not the same thing as describing a plausible reality. Either life was created or else it created itself.

    —–”Then again, maybe there are not even desired short-term effects. Perhaps it’s simply fun to perturb the system randomly and watch what happens.”

    Where do we get the system and who is doing the perturbing?

    —–“There are many positions one can take. The whole thing of “camps” is very primitive, to me.”

    Explain that to the Darwinists, who insist that only those in their “camp” are doing science. Which is more primitive–for me to call them Darwinists or for them to persecute ID scientists for daring to be non-Darwinists.

  42. Joel V, you’re boring me. Words are wonderful little boxes that portray a package of thought. With a single word we can present a complex piece of information. With the word IDist or IDer we imply one who adheres to an Intelligent Design interpretation of how life came about. Evolutionist is a term with a bit of a floating meaning. I take it to mean one who holds to the understanding that universal common descent is valid (within the complexity added by phenomena such as HGT.)

    I consider the term “creationist” to be one who overtly interprets the scientific evidence throught the filter of the “divinely inspired” creation story. It is clear, however, that the scientific community uses the term creationist to describe anyone who does not hold to strict naturalism.

    The term Darwinist has a long history within the scientific establishment. However, as you feel that the term Darwinist has somehow been tainted, prejoratized, by the creationist community, would you please find me another single word that describes those who hold to modern evolutionary theory — the theory that random (non-forsighted) variation and natural selection are the two mechanisms that built up all of the variety of life on earth.

    That said, please understand that if your new term catches on, it’ll take about 5 years for that term to also become prejoratized by the creationist community. Therefore I recommend that you start working on your next term as soon as your first term is presented.

  43. And please, don’t go suggesting that there is much more to the MET than RV + NS. We’ve hashed through HGT, genetic drift, variations on mutations, retroviruses, the list of 40 some odd twists on the theme that MacNeill published. They come down to RV+NS and mechanisms that ostensibly developed from these two.

    I’ve looked back at what MacNeill said at UD. He objected to the notion of randomness on the grounds that it was ultimately an ontological stance. He alluded to more like 200 sources of variation in reproduction. And he referred to himself as Darwinian, Larmarckian, and some other things.

    I mention “Darwinian” and “Lamarckian” because they are particularly interesting. Darwin actually ascribed to Larmarckian inheritance. Darwinism is crisply distinct from Lamarckianism in the minds of people today only because Lamarckian evolution was debunked. The scientific community did not swallow Darwin’s theories hook, line, and sinker. Now Lamarckian inheritance is somewhat “un-bunked,” according to MacNeill.

    If I recall correctly, Darwin never invoked randomness in his theorizing. Randomness comes by way of Mendel, whose work was not widely known until the 1890′s. It seems to me that what most ID proponents object to in their conceptualizations of Darwinism is the denial of teleology. Show me an ID proponent who does not conceive of the designing intelligence as goal-oriented.

    “ID vs. Darwinism” is framed as it is because most ID proponents do not deny that there is some sort of evolution. There is great disagreement among IDers as to how, precisely, intelligence directs evolution. But all IDers are teleologists, as best I can tell. And what they are really taking Darwinists to task for when they reduce Darwinism to “RV + NS” is denial of purpose in evolution.

    The debate is over teleology, I believe. Any non-teleologist or anti-teleogist will be objectionable to an IDer (teleologist).

  44. CEC09:

    He objected to the notion of randomness on the grounds that it was ultimately an ontological stance.

    In a conversation with me on this site, MacNeill withdrew his objection if random was replaced with non-forsighted. As for Lamarckian evolution, to the extent that it exists, it is seen as a mechanism that was developed via RM+NS. In fact, human-induced genetic engineering is also seen as a mechanism that was developed via RM+NS.

    There are only three mechanisms in all of the MET — non-forsighted variation (including events such as asteroids), natural selection, and mechanisms that are ostensibly developed from those two. There are lots of twists and turns within thest parameters, but they all are within these simple parameters.

    As to teleological v. non-teleological, in general I would agree with you. However, the only non-teleological explanation that has been proposed for life’s variety are the above three mechanisms. I am sure that the non-teleologists would be happy to conjur up another mechanism, but so far they have not done so. The ID theorists have simply suggested that if RV+NS is unable to explain something, then foresight is required. If foresight is required, then intelligence must be required. If intelligence is required then either that intelligence is itself a product of RV+NS (think aliens), or that intelligence is “other”.

  45. —-CECO9: “The debate is over teleology, I believe. Any non-teleologist or anti-teleogist will be objectionable to an IDer (teleologist).”

    Yes, but you forget the flip side. It is also the case that any teleologist will be objectionable to a Darwinist. What is “methodological naturalism” except a convenient way of imposing that objection on science and institutionalizing it? TEs, by the way, are also on board with that imposition. That is why we need the three terms, “Intelligent design, “Darwinism,” and “Theistic evolution.”

  46. 46

    If Darwinists don’t want to be called “Darwinists,” then they should cut the “I love Darwin” stuff (T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc., and now even a doggie shirt), the “Friend of Darwin” certificates (handed out at a reunion of the Dover plaintiffs team), the Darwin-Lincoln stuff (the only thing they have in common is the same official birthdate), etc.. IMO celebrating Darwin Day is OK in moderation.

  47. bFast makes a very good point in (42):

    That said, please understand that if your new term catches on, it’ll take about 5 years for that term to also become prejoratized by the creationist community. Therefore I recommend that you start working on your next term as soon as your first term is presented.

    The linguistic world is replete with examples. To welsh on a debt, an Irish temper, and German engineering are just a few of the examples of baggage that otherwise neutral names can pick up (in the last example, a good one, in contrast to some other baggage the word German has acquired). This process cannot be halted by fiat. It is picked up first by fair generalizations, and secondly by unjustified prejudice. The precise amounts of these two processes can be debated. Once people figure out what the new terms are, the old stereotypes are immediately reapplied.

    Attempts to circumvent this process do not last. Consider the sequence Negro, black, and (in the U.S.) African-American, or the sequence (American Indian, Native American, indegenous, and multiple other names that have been applied. When I was in college, I worked for a summer as a sanitation engineer, which used to be a garbageman. Now they are environmental services specialists.

    It doesn’t really matter what you call them. Until the underlying reality changes, changing the name only obfuscates, and that temporarily. Creationists, and to a lesser extent (other) ID advocates (there are some who are both), will always think that Darwinists, or whatever you want to call them, are wrong on the big picture. So whatever new name someone comes up with will in short order carry much the same baggage.

    The only thing that will change some of this is if the new breed stops trying to oust people from academia based on their disbelief in philosophical naturalism. Then there will be a change in content, and then the new name will actually mean something different.

    I regard the complaints about “Darwinist” as mostly whining, especially in view of Larry Farfarman’s comments at (46). But then, I would have been happy at one time with the term “garbageman”. In my book it is a bureaucratic mindset that wants to call a spade a manual digging implement.

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