Home » Intelligent Design » McGrew makes an apology, but Myers has not

McGrew makes an apology, but Myers has not

Yesterday I reported statements by Professor Tim McGrew, Chair of the Philosophy of Science Department at Western Michigan University. Here are some updates as more information has rolled in.

I posted excerpts and links to McGrew’s statements yesterday here at: More antics from PZ Myers?. My only major comment was, “you be the judge.”

In brief, PZ Myers was accused by McGrew of lying and fabricating quotes and attributing them to Jonathan Wells. It appears some of the accusations by McGrew were inaccurate, and McGrew has detailed the issues where he felt he was hasty in making judgments about PZ Myers:

My Denver Post Review of Two New Books on Darwinism and Intelligent Design

my original charge of outright fabrication was careless and arose from my reading of the text actually written by Wells rather than of the callouts written by some editor…I’ve apologized to PZ. But PZ needs to apologize to Wells.

–Tim McGrew

McGrew reports apologizing to Myers, but there is no report of Myers giving an apology or explanation to Wells even though I and others have presented evidence from PZ’s writings that PZ has misrepresented Wells.

Myers claims what Wells did regarding Ballard’s comments on the gastrula stage was to:

pretend it applies to the pharyngula stage

Myers has not responded to querries that he clarify that claim especially in light of the fact that it has been pointed out here and on his weblog that Wells used the word “gastrulation” three times in his book (and not pharyngulation or pharyngula) on pages 30-31 when referring to Ballard and other’s work.

Myers has provided no response to justify his claim Wells was pretending Ballard’s comments on gastrula stages were comments on pharyngula stages. Myers further uses this claim to argue that Jonathan Wells lied.

Myers has given no indication of giving a clarification, explanation, correction, retraction, or apology to his fellow scientist, Jonathan Wells.

However, if Myers does offer any apology, the commeters are invited to post it or links to it here.

(Have a nice weekend)
Update 11/6/06: Dr. Jonathan Wells Responds to Critics

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47 Responses to McGrew makes an apology, but Myers has not

  1. I think it’s quite disingenuous to hide behind “You be the judge”. No one is confused or fooled as to why McGrews allegations received attention (albeit without diligence) here.

    When allegations you broadcast or publicize end up being false witness, the right thing to do is be upfront about it: Whoops! Myers was right, we were wrong. I know that hurts for the folks here, but it’s the Moral Thing(tm).

    Lawyering equivocations just make the blunder worse; it matters not if Myers *did* make spurious claims with regard to gastrula stages etc. True or no, it doesn’t change the fact that McGrew’s accusations, as offered, were baseless. The fact that the landscape can be scrounged for some other complaint against Myers doesn’t mitigate the original problem.

    Speaking frankly and humbly about this will go much farther in building up the credibility of this blog than pointing to “unanswered queries” as your defence, or worse, hiding behind the skirt of “You be the judge.” McGrew did the right thing (mostly), and UD should, too.

    -Touchstone

  2. Touchstone, fair enough but do you intend to ask PZ to do the same about his attribution of pretense with respect to the application of the gastrula stage? Noone is fooled either by PZ’s motives in ignoring the issue. The original problem entails PZ’s excesses against Wells about whom you devoted no attention. Does PZ get a pass on frankness and humility?

  3. Lawyering equivocations just make the blunder worse; it matters not if Myers *did* make spurious claims with regard to gastrula stages etc. True or no, it doesn’t change the fact that McGrew’s accusations, as offered, were baseless. The fact that the landscape can be scrounged for some other complaint against Myers doesn’t mitigate the original problem.

    It is not a matter of scouring the landscape. The entire premise of PZ’s accusation against Wells was fabricated wholesale. PZ deliberately mischaracterized the context of Wells’ statement. PZ lied and said that Wells tried to claim the gastrula stage was the pharyngula stage. Wells made not such claim and gave full mention of the hourglasss theory, which even PZ admits is dubious.

    To direct attention away from his lie, PZ makes up another false statement and claims Wells mischaracterized the content of Ballards 1976 paper, claiming that Ballard’s paper stresses the similarity of embryos across the subphyla. The statement from Ballard’s paper to which PZ refers is not a conclusion or finding of the paper, it is an aside or dicta. Therefore, PZ’s claim is pure nonsense. If you actually read the paper, as I have, you will see that the main point of the paper is a refutation of the idea that the cleavage, bastula, and gastrula stages are not conserved developmental stages, refuting Van Baer.

    Thus, the energy of investigators and particularly students is diverted into the essentially fruitless 19th century activity of bending the facts of nature to support second-rate generalities of no predictive value. Though enthusiasm for Haeckel’s (1900) recapitulation ‘law’ died out, unfortunately the popularity of Von Baer’s ‘laws’ of 1828 was renewed. …

    The plain fact is that evolutionary divergence has taken place at every stage in the life history, the earliest no less than the latest. To bolster the partial truths in Von Baer’s generalities by insisting that the eggs of vertebrates are more like one another than their ‘blastulas,’ the blastulas more like one another than their ‘gastrulas,’ and to homologize all theoretical ‘functional blastopores’ where ‘invagination’ is taking place would be running the risk of assuming what is not yet demonstrate – that the genetic physiologic, and cell-behavior processes going on are the same in time and nature.

    The whole article is along these lines.

    As for PZ’s little tiny snippet that he falsely claims represents the article. PZ is full of it. Here is the real context of PZ’s snippet.

    from very different eggs the embryos of vertebrates pass through cleavage stages of very different appearance, and then through a period of morphogenetic movements showing patterns of migration and temporary structures unique to each class. All then arrive at a pharyngula stage, which is remarkably uniform thoughout the subphylum, consisting of similar organ rudiments similarly arranged (though in some respects deformed in respect to habitat and food supply). After the standardized pharyngula stage, the maturing of the structures of organs and tissues takes place on diverging lines, each line characteristic of the class and further diverging into lines characteristic of the orders, families, and so on.

    This is exactly the “hourglass” that Wells describes, yet PZ claims that Wells mischaracterized Ballard. PZ is a liar.

    It gets worse because Ballard goes on to say,

    Von Baer’s generalities only apply to the second half of this, and even then there are many exceptions in the literature (De Beer 1958), limiting their predictive value. Before the pharyngula stage we can only say that embryos of different species within a single taxonomic class are more alike than their parents. Only by semantiv tricks and subjective selection of evidence can we claim that “gastrulas” of shark, salmon, frog, and bird are more alike than their adults.

    How much does Ballard even believe that embryos are alike in the pharyngula stage? Here is what Ballard wrote in Comparative Anatomy and Embryology (1964, p. 69)

    Some of these actual pharyngulas have a tailfin and some do not. Those which are tetrapods have lung buds, the fish pharyngulas lack them. They all have a liver, to mention an organ at random, but the livers of fishes, birds and mammals are interestingly different in detail even at the pharyngula stage. Arteries can be compared easily but there is little uniformity in the veins. Most conspicuously, the circumstances and needs for respiration, nutrition, and excretion at this stage have been met by a good many structures of a temporary nature, aptly referred to as scaffolding tissues, which are in bold contrast in the different classes of vertebrates.

    So even at the pharyngula stage, the notion that there is a conserved stage is not accurate and has no predictive value.

    PZ himself acknowledges this stating,

    serious embryology (none of which seems to be done by “intelligent design” proponents) demonstrates that there is a significant amount of variation within the phylotypic period.

    So in the end, even PZ admits that his opposition to Wells’ point is meaningless, sound and fury signifying nothing.

    Don’t get lost in PZ’s rhetorical house of mirrors; PZ has no point, only distortion.

  4. There is no reason for Myers to apologize since he was accurate in everything he wrote. The book was written by Wells and had a quote in it attributed to Ballard that was either inaccurate or edited. McGrew had to apologize because his charge the Myers is a liar proved to be wrong. Since Myers is not a liar, he is telling the truth. Changing the words of a “quote” is obviously wrong. It is just as wrong to pull quotes out of context and change the meaning and intention of the original researcher and call that science.

  5. it matters not if Myers *did* make spurious claims with regard to gastrula stages etc.

    Why would it not matter?

  6. What is up with you, Sal?

    You’re just digging yourself in deeper, and it’s embarrassing. Wells distorted that article and PZ called him on it. McGrew was hasty and got egg on his face. Anybody can see that.

    Is this the “research” we’ve been promised over and over? “Evolution dead in 10 years,” huh, Bill D.?

    I’ve seen women on the bus having fights over earrings that were more persuasive. You guys need to show me something good. You’re better than Dawkins at making atheists.

  7. All emotions and no argument. Don’t forget, we’re not allowed to respond to accusations that Well’s “lied out his teeth”. I’d stick with McGrew’s original statement that PZ did just that (just not literally, like he thought).

  8. I agree with Touchstone. When your life becomes the culture war, you can develop an itchy trigger finger. Sometimes it’s better to hold your fire. I’m no fan of PZ Myers.

  9. I have a feeling kharley471 completely skipped over comment #2…or worse, read it and simply ignored it.

    From what I can tell- PZ did, indeed, blunder on attacking Wells. I don’t see where Wells has distorted Ballard at all.

  10. Objectivity is not exactly the strong suit of PZ and/or other militants at Pharyngula. My latest post on the “Visit to Downe” blog, was picked off:

    “Thank you for commenting.
    Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner”

    I’m a great admirer of many prominent ID thinkers. But I have to think that their rationale is best going to be advanced, not in encounters with people like Myers, but rather by reasonable questions being posed by students in j-high and high school classrooms. Most kids won’t read technical blogs, or remember them if they do. But they will never forget seeing a biology teacher completely off-balance when simple but profound questions are posed which can’t be dismissed by standard evolutionary jargon.

  11. You have a feeling, Jason? “All emotions and no argument.”

    So yes, Wells acknowledges the hourglass while shifting the word “earlier” like sand through it, speaking out of both sides of his mouth as always, and that’s not a distortion?

    PZ tries to pin the guy down as to what he’s really saying, and Wells has squirm room as always, playing the “I didn’t say that” game until, once again, we see that he’s not really saying anything because he’s acknowledging the evidence that contradicts his view as supporting his view. Well, yes, I guess refuting this is a waste of time.

    Nobel prizes in fifteen years for ID. I was promised.

  12. ^ I let kharley471′s comment through so everyone could see an example of the level of “reasoning” employed by ID opponents. The other comments I deleted were rants.

  13. kharley471 and edwinhensley

    Are you two daft? Are you so completely hypnotized by PZ Myers that you cannot comprehend the facts?

    edwinhensley, you wrote,

    The book was written by Wells and had a quote in it attributed to Ballard that was either inaccurate or edited.

    That is completely false. If you believe that you either have not been paying attention or you just believe the lies of PZ Myers wholesale.

    kharley471, you said,

    So yes, Wells acknowledges the hourglass while shifting the word “earlier” like sand through it, speaking out of both sides of his mouth as always, and that’s not a distortion?

    No, it is not distortion. Even Ballard uses the word “early embryonic” to describe the egg, cleavage, blastula and gastrula phases. All of which Ballard argues are morphologically unique in the different taxa. Wells has accurately represented Ballard.

    But neither of you seem to understand the science here at all, rather you appear to be gleeful echo chambers for the lies of PZ Myers.

  14. Jehu, Ballard never contradicted ToE and you know that. Or are you going to tell me that Wells never argues against it now or misuses Ballard to do so? Wells is slippery and his books are slippery, and so are his definitions, deliberately so, precisely in order for you to be able to make the “argument” that you do. That is how the ID movement works. By the way, I could never get away with that Dadaist “citation” method in any scholarly journal or white paper, so don’t lecture me on science or methodology.

    Sure, even Ballard could define “early” as anything before 3:00 p.m. and then say, “I’m an early riser” if he were to get up at 2:59 p.m. That would not be exactly a lie, but would it, with knowledge of the full implication of what “early riser” means to people, be the truth? Context is all. Ballard made himself clear at what points “early” meant at each stage that he discussed. Wells is deliberately vague for a general unschooled audience.

    Come on. You know better. And if you knew me you would soon see that I cannot be hypnotized by anyone, not even by someone I admire.

  15. kharley471, your wrote

    Ballard never contradicted ToE and you know that. Or are you going to tell me that Wells never argues against it now or misuses Ballard to do so?

    Unbelievable. Is that the depth of your analysis? Ballard believed in ToE and Wells doesn’t, therefore, Wells must be misusing Ballard? That is the level of your understanding?

    Well, the answer is no. Wells uses Ballard as support for the fact that the early embryonic stages of vertebrate development are not similar. A fact that Ballard clearly supports. So Wells does not misuse Ballard.

    I could never get away with that Dadaist “citation” method in any scholarly journal or white paper, so don’t lecture me on science or methodology.

    So what? This is a blog not a journal. My citations are easy enough to find if you want to. I don’t see any evidence that you understand the science being discussed here or have bothered to read Ballard’s paper.

    Ballard made himself clear at what points “early” meant at each stage that he discussed. Wells is deliberately vague for a general unschooled audience.

    What? Again, you obviously haven’t got a clue of the science being discussed here and haven’t read Ballard’s paper. Ballard does not explain what “early” means at each stage. Ballard maintains that all of the early embryonic stages of the different classes of chordates are distinct and cannot be compressed into a single account. Wells is exactly right in his use of Ballard and that is why PZ Myers is a liar.

  16. Ballard never contradicted ToE and you know that. Or are you going to tell me that Wells never argues against it now or misuses Ballard to do so?

    Unbelievable. Is that the depth of your analysis? Ballard believed in ToE and Wells doesn’t, therefore, Wells must be misusing Ballard? That is the level of your understanding?

    Jehu, panda thinking is that if one believes in ToE any references to that individual’s statements about a specific related issue are out of bounds and likely to incur the quote mining charge. It is as if any criticisms that could be turned against ToE are unfair when the source is a ToE advocate.

  17. *Sigh.*

    Well, I see the way the games works, at least. You are deliberately misunderstanding me, although I think that you know quite well what I’ve said. But as Bill O’Reilly likes to say about his realm, UD never apologizes (an appropriate quip in this context).

    First of all, I was referring to Well’s “citation,” not yours.

    “This is a blog not a journal.” It sure isn’t a scholarly journal, we agree on that. But therefore, not being one, I don’t know how anyone can say with a straight face this blog is an authoritative resource on science.

    “I don’t see any evidence that you understand the science being discussed here or have bothered to read Ballard’s paper.” I have read it. You are toying with me. Well, go toy with an amateur.

    “Ballard does not explain what ‘early’ means at each stage.” Now, that is just stupid. You know perfectly well that Ballard made it clear to which stage he referred when discussing development at each point in his article. This is just childish.

    Sayonara.

  18. 18

    I don’t think Wells is “anti-evolution”, and I surely don’t think he was trying to say that Ballard was anti-evolution in any sense. He was speaking on a specific issue.

    Myers used the quote from the box, claiming Wells was distorting the issue, but Wells quoted Ballard and full a few pages before this. Maybe Myers refused to read the book, but only read a few selected sections of it? That’s laziness at best.

    What Wells said fits. He didn’t distort Ballard, and the quote was in 2 places- the first quote was full and didn’t distort Ballard’s view as far as I can tell.

    I’m not sure why anyone needs to apologize. Sal quoted what someone else said and asked for discussion. Suddenly someone here needs to apologize? For what exactly? For linking to someone else’s quote and saying, ‘what do you all think’?

    Your comments that this isn’t a good resource for science are- well, I don’t know what purpose they serve. If you think it’s devoid of any true science, why bother to read or comment? It sounds childish to attack in this manner.

    Worse- it’s silly to start trying to read people’s minds telling them that they know what they’re saying isn’t true or that they’re deliberately misunderstaing you, when it could be a simple case of you being wrong. That is possible, I can assume, no?

    Wells wasn’t trying to say Ballard is, in any way anti-evolution, or even anti NeoDarwinian evolution. He was speaking of a specific part of Ballard’s paper, and it matches the quote in the book and matches the facts so far as I can tell.

  19. kharley471: Adios o thou who art enomored with 19th century mystery religions. Thou shalt be greatly missed.

  20. pk4_paul,

    I think Myers mis-stated the case viz. Wells, yes. It doesn’t come across to me as clearly dishonest, but it’s not a fair representation of Wells, I’ll grant. And it should be addressed.

    But as a Christian, I urge high standards and generous attitudes for everyone, but I don’t expect PZ to show the same standards of conduct in discourse as I expect from Christians.

    UD would have much more leverage and moral credibility here if they just separated the two: a) came clean for being a bullhorn for accusations that were false, then b) pursued the “gastrula” question completely separately, without mention of the McGrew gaffe at all. That shows an intent to operate from the high ground in the debate, where UD belongs.

    As it is, it’s increasingly clear that UD has chosen to pursue a scientific debate with a strategy of scorched-earth politics. Or fight a katie-bar-the-door political battle under the pretense of a scientific debate. Take your pick.

    -Touchstone

  21. Jehu,

    I don’t think I need to disagree with your analysis of Myer’s approach to simply say it doesn’t/shouldn’t get in the way of simply saying: we went off half-cocked, sorry! You can pursue your complaints against PZ with all due vigor — I won’t think to deny you that, even if I’m able (I’m not).

    This is really more about UD being “stand-up” folk when things go haywire. If Myers did mischaracterize Wells, make your case, you’re doing a fine job. But spare us the “Never-mind-the-false-accusations-what-about-this-other-thing” tactics. Or the “We just said ‘You be the judge’” plea… This crew here aims at higher standards than that, I’m sure.

    McGrew blew it. We should have checked it out first, and didn’t. We regret the error and will strive do better in vetting things like this in the future…

    Is that so hard?

    -Touchstone

  22. kharley471

    Well, I see the way the games works, at least. You are deliberately misunderstanding me, although I think that you know quite well what I’ve said.

    Actually, I have understood you quite well and you have failed to make a salient point.

    First of all, I was referring to Well’s “citation,” not yours.

    And so that means you understand the science here?

    “This is a blog not a journal.” It sure isn’t a scholarly journal, we agree on that. But therefore, not being one, I don’t know how anyone can say with a straight face this blog is an authoritative resource on science.

    Nobody said that it is, so as usual, you have no point.

    “I don’t see any evidence that you understand the science being discussed here or have bothered to read Ballard’s paper.” I have read it. You are toying with me. Well, go toy with an amateur.

    Then I guess you have just failed to demonstrate that you comprehend it.

    “Ballard does not explain what ‘early’ means at each stage.” Now, that is just stupid. You know perfectly well that Ballard made it clear to which stage he referred when discussing development at each point in his article. This is just childish.

    Sure, but he didn’t “explain what ‘early’ means at each stage” as you claim. What Ballard states is that none of the early stages are conserved, they are distinct, which is what Wells’ described. So your allegaton that Wells misused Ballard is entirely baseless.

  23. But spare us the “Never-mind-the-false-accusations-what-about-this-other-thing” tactics. Or the “We just said ‘You be the judge’” plea… This crew here aims at higher standards than that, I’m sure.

    I’m a UD mod. My first reaction to McGrew’s accusation was skepticism since I doubted Meyers would falsify something so easy to double-check. Fortunately Meyers himself saved me the bother of looking up the relevant pages in the book. I also very much doubt Sal was lying about his intentions to merely discuss the accusation. After all, if you look at the title it says “More antics from PZ Myers?”…notice the question mark?

    At the same there is definitely more to discuss when it comes to the accuracy of Meyer’s claim (which, based upon the above comments, has been adequately shot down).

  24. “…fellow scientist, Jonathan Wells.”

    …I just threw up.

  25. Sayonara.

    Comment by kharley471 — November 4, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

    Thank you. I was having a hard time getting at your points because your belligerence kept getting in the way.

  26. Hi Patrick,

    I accept your point about PZ Myers being in the title, as opposed to McGrew — you’re suggesting that removes McGrew as the *subject*, right? A technical, but fair argument.

    Still, the “Antics” in question then are not the “antics” being pressed now (see Jehu’s arguments above, for example).

    As for Sal, well, color me cynical I guess; the question mark is there, but it doesn’t really signal a spirit of inquiry, at least not any more than the National Enquirer at that supermarket yesterday was truly just curious:

    Did Urban cheat on Jen?

    I’m sure they’d say “Notice the question mark?” if the reports turned out to be false.

    No one’s fooling anybody here with punctuation.

    That’s the sum of my complaint, I suppose. Enough from me, though, I’ve said my piece on this matter.

    -Touchstone

  27. 27

    24. cfrench // Nov 4th 2006 at 10:45 pm

    “…fellow scientist, Jonathan Wells.”

    …I just threw up.

    I assume you think that anyone who isn’t a Darwinist isn’t a true scientist?

    I wonder what it takes to be a “true scientist”? The inventor of the laser is a young earth creationist. I guess he’s not a true scientist. Are only men who think that there is no God true scientists? Or maybe it’s men who think God exists but is impossible to detect in the world? I wonder who gets to choose who a true scientist and who isn’t? Is there a special board somewhere of men with black robes who sit on fancy benches who make these decisions?

    I wonder it it merely requires a certain level of groupthink before you’re considered a true scientist?

    I wonder if you can be considered a true scientist, then take a position close to Wells and they take away your “true scientist” member card?

  28. 28

    Touchstone. I don’t see what the big deal is. Sal linked to another site that made a claim about PZ. PZ, probably seeing the long pattern of rabid comments from PZ, wondered if these were more antics…he simply brought the subject up for discussion.

    The professor who made the original charge Sal linked to apologized. Sal noted this. I don’t think he has anything to be sorry for. He never made any charge against anyone…as he said, he just brought it up for discussion. Isn’t that fair to do? I think his wording was VERY fair- he said “more antics from PZ?” the question mark is, I think, quite important. Especially since in the post itself he merely said- here’s a comment from someone else, YOU be the judge.

    So, he was clearly not passing judgement himself, just linking to another and asking those who comment here to judge the issue.

    I don’t see any other way he could have even brought the topic up, unless he started it off with “I swear an oath I am not personally passing judgement…”- which would be rather pointless, since it’s already inherent in the wording itself. He asked US to be the judge, which shows he wasn’t passing judgement, but simply offering up this link for discussion.

  29. Jason, you are no more convincing than Sal with this “it was just for discussion” line. The only reason it was put up here at Uncommon Descent was because it was critical of PZ. Any article complementary of PZ would never see the light of day around here. Until such a time as an article that reflects positively on PZ (and I am not holding my breath), all Sal was doing was engaging in smug carping.

  30. I think it’s clear that Salvador was implying, by his post, that PZ was caught in a lie, another “antic” by him, if you will. (First time I’ve ever used the phrase, “if you will”, in my life – it’s sort of freeing.) And, I would agree that Salvador’s original post has a hint of “smug carping” about it (it is oh so easy to descend into “smug carping” when it comes to PZ Myers, though). But, Salvador has nothing to apologize for, in my opinion, and has handled the whole thing far more fairly and nobly-mindedly (I see the extra “y”) than PZ Myers and his trusty trumpeting troubadours of truth would have, if the shoes were on the other feet.

    Furthermore, Salvador’s point about PZ Myers NOT having yet apologized for his emotional and false accusation regarding Dr. Wells is quite pertinent and revealing. PZ Myers’ accuser has admitted his error, and apologized to PZ…but PZ seemingly cannot afford to admit an error, and is apparently loathe to deign to apologize to ID pseud0-scientists and vermin. (Probably, he’d prefer they all be quarantined, or shipped to a deserted island somewhere.)

    If this post contains any smug carping, I apologize for it beforehand, but it will remain as it is.

  31. Now I wonder if Haggard will apologize to Dawkins.
    :)

  32. JasonTheGreek:

    He never made any charge against anyone as he said, he just brought it up for discussion. Isn’t that fair to do? I think his wording was VERY fair- he said more antics from PZ? the question mark is, I think, quite important.
    Especially since in the post itself he merely said- here’s a comment from someone else, YOU be the judge.

    I have to disagree with you. Sal asked us to judge after presenting only one side of the case – the one against PZ. Furthermore, by referring to “more antics” (ludicrous or extravagant acts or jestures) he is most certainly prejudicing the case, suggesting a history of similar behaviour in the past even if questioning this particular occurence.
    Of course I could be reading too much into that, but the first eight comments (which I think were probably the sort of thing Sal was after) and Sal’s subsequent comments and calls for apologies suggest that I am not.

  33. 33

    Well, PZ DOES have a history of such antics, so he might have been suggesting just that.

    If you have a history of hate speech- you can’t whine when someone sees a complaint and accepts it. Once you set down the pattern, it’s hard to get rid of the stigma, and that’s how it goes.

    Now, if PZ goes back and recants much of his hate speech and apologizes for constant offensive remarks, that’d be a different story. But he hasn’t, and he shows no sign of being ready to do so. Just pick out a handful of blog posts from him and tell me he’s not the epitome of incivility and bad manners.

    Or worse- tell me you would feel comfortable with your kids being taught by him with such hateful diatribes pouring out seemingly nonstop.

  34. Touchston, you said,

    “Still, the “Antics” in question then are not the “antics” being pressed now (see Jehu’s arguments above, for example).

    Not true. It is true that McGraw’s emphasis was on the idea the Myers misquoted Wells. However, what I have been discussing is not different than what McGraw posted. This is the quote from Myers featured at the beginning of McGraw’s original post.

    “This is the heart of Wells’s strategy: pick comments by developmental biologists referring to different stages, which say very different things about the similarity of embryos, and conflate them. It’s easy to make it sound like scientists are willfully lying about the state of our knowledge when you can pluck out a statement about the diversity at the gastrula stage, omit the word “gastrula”, and pretend it applies to the pharyngula stage.

    Literally. He is actually that dishonest.”

    Was Wells literaly attempting to pretend a quote about the gastrula stage applied to the pharyngula stage? No. Was Wells even suggesting that? No. So Myers is lying even if he did not misquote Wells to tell the lie.
    I don’t know why that is so hard to understand. Unless one is biased and does not want to understand.

  35. Doug, the carping and the subsequent backpedalling hardly seem in keeping with Matthew 5:44.

  36. cfrench

    “…I just threw up.”

    And I just banned you.

  37. rrf,

    I prefer to be called, “Douglas”. It’s part of my mystique.

    And, I agree with you about carping not being in keeping with Matthew 5:44, though I’m not sure Salvador has “backpedalled” (maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t – I’ve not kept close track on his responses here). When I said Salvador has “nothing to apologize for”, I was being a bit sloppy – I meant in terms of accusations, false statements, etc.. In terms of nuanced implications, I suppose he should “apologize” for indulging in some vague “carping”, but as I said, given Myers’ history and tendencies, one can argue that Salvador was merely swayed by those aspects of Myers, and understandably so.

    Anyway, I agree Salvador could have handled it a bit better. But I don’t think he engaged in anything egregiously negative (considering Myers’ known character and manners), nor do I believe his intent was malicious.

  38. 38

    For starters, I want to say that there is no question that PZ Myers deliberately misrepresented the book.

    Here is the boxed call-out statement that appears on page 35 of the book –

    It is “only by semantic tricks and subjective selection of evidence,” by “bending the facts of nature,” that one can argue that the early embryo stages of vertebrates “are more alike than their adults.”– William Ballard, Bioscience, 1976.

    Only the words within the quote marks are directly attributed to Ballard — the words in question, “early embryo stages,” are not within quote marks. I agree that this call-out statement is ambiguous and potentially misleading, but that does not excuse PZ Myers from completely ignoring the pp. 30-31 text which clarifies this call-out statement.

    Images of page 35 and pages 30-31 are on PZ’s blog at –http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/11/pz_myers_is_such_a_liar.php

    The above call-out statement should not even have been a call-out in the first place because to most people that statement has significance only in the context of the text whereas call-outs are supposed to have some significance as stand-alone statements. The only reason why PZ noticed that this call-out statement is ambiguous and possibly misleading is that he is a specialist in the field of evolutionary developmental biology.

    Anyway, IMO the whole statement would be bad even if it had been an accurate representation of what Ballard said. As I noted on my blog,

    . . . .because the structures of the adult forms and early embryo forms of organisms are radically different, statements that the early embryos of two species are “more alike than their parents” or “less alike than their parents” are often meaningless. I assert that Ballard created tremendous confusion here by speaking in those terms.

    McGrew apparently made an honest mistake by understandably thinking that Myers’ reference to page 35 was a reference to the text and not to a call-out. In contrast, Myers’ review deliberately misrepresented Wells’ book by ignoring the text on pages 30-31. Would it have been that hard for Myers to discuss both the call-out on page 35 and the text on pages 30-31?

    PZ Myers’ misrepresentation of Wells’ book is discussed on my blog at —

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....ining.html

    My review of PZ’s review of chaper 3 of Wells’ book is at (this review of PZ’s review has some serious errors resulting from PZ’s misrepresentation of the book) –

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....ter-3.html

  39. Touchstone wrote:

    I think it’s quite disingenuous to hide behind “You be the judge”. No one is confused or fooled as to why McGrews allegations received attention (albeit without diligence) here.

    I was contacted about McGrew’s comments by a 3rd party and had reason to believe his account had possible merit. I posted it in a forum where his claims had the possiblity to be disputed, and I was willing to post contrary opinions. What’s your problem? I posted his retraction and links to Myers claim.

    I, meaning me, think McGrew was hasty and mistaken in the points he retracted, and I (meaning me) think Myers has yet to account for claimng Wells was referring to Pharyngula when it turns out Wells used the word gastrulation 3 times.

    Weblogs are an opportunity to discuss and get at the truth. I think McGrew had some good points, and was willing to admit his mistake on his bad points. I think it is Myers turn to fess up. I posted a correction in 24 hours. That’s more than I can say for Myers.

  40. Let me point out something, Weblogs are the perfect place to solicit critiques of ideas and claims one want verification of:

    I’m not going to give away all my secrets, but one thing I sometimes do is post on the web a chapter or section from a forthcoming book, let the critics descend, and then revise it so that what appears in book form preempts the critics’ objections. An additional advantage with this approach is that I can cite the website on which the objections appear, which typically gives me the last word in the exchange. And even if the critics choose to revise the objections on their website, books are far more permanent and influential than webpages.
    William Dembski,
    I’m not going to give away all my secrets, but one thing I sometimes do is post on the web a chapter or section from a forthcoming book, let the critics descend, and then revise it so that what appears in book form preempts the critics’ objections. An additional advantage with this approach is that I can cite the website on which the objections appear, which typically gives me the last word in the exchange. And even if the critics choose to revise the objections on their website, books are far more permanent and influential than webpages.
    William Dembski,
    appropriate methods of getting free help from critics
    “Dealing with the Backlash”

  41. PZ wrote at Myers 1

    What? Cordova thinks I could have just visited Uncommon Descent and given my side? Excuse me, I have to go get over this laughing fit.

    That’s insane. Everyone knows that the UD whip-bosses edit and censor comments that disturb their equanimity. There was a deletion in that thread already; I suspect that only the fact that some of us caught on fast and started pointing out the hypocrisy of their actions prevented the whole thing from vanishing down the legendary UD memory hole.

    To set the record straight, can the mods tell me if PZ would be banned or unwelcome here or would we not rather relish the opportunity to take him on (unless of course he were too vulgar or whatever) on questions of relevance to what he asserts on scientific matters or things he said in critique of what IDers have published in print.

  42. Well, PZ DOES have a history of such antics, so he might have been suggesting just that.

    Can you give examples of such antics (deliberately changing quotes) ? I realise the rules don’t allow you to give direct links but maybe you could give a post titles and dates. Similarly for examples of “Hate Speech”. Although, that term is open to interpretation – are the first few anti PZ comments in the other thread “Hate speech” , or just “fair comment”? I know he can be quite opinionated and a little abrasive at times but not necessarily more so than the people who complain about him.

  43. Steve h,

    PZ has a history of misrepresentation. I was referring to that. Do you remember Scott Adams of Dilbert and PZ

    Sal

  44. update:

    Wells Responds to critics like PZ.

  45. PZ has a history of misrepresentation. I was referring to that. Do you remember Scott Adams of Dilbert and PZ

    I certainly do. Though I don’t see the point of raking it all up again here. I disagree with the linked telicthoughts appraisal but I am not confident that I could explain why without annoying people.

  46. steveh,

    The other point about antics, is well, PZ has a reputation even among his own for extreme comments.

    He got an earful from PandasThumb contributors for his negative comments on Ken Miller. So, lack of diplomacy and outrageous commnets, I regard as part of his antics.

    Sal

  47. Myers ranted a bit more here:

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

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