Home » Intelligent Design » Sean Carroll takes his bat and ball home

Sean Carroll takes his bat and ball home

Bob Wright is taking hits for bringing the McWhorter Behe bloggingheads diavlog back online. Now Sean Caroll is leaving Bloggingheads. That’s what bullies do when they don’t get their way on the playground. Note that Sean says he didn’t actually listen to the diavlog!

The scientists involved with BH.tv were a little perturbed at the appearance of an ID proponent so quickly after we thought we understood that the previous example [Paul Nelson and Ron Numbers] had been judged a failed experiment. Emails went back and forth, and this morning we had a conference call with Bob Wright, founder of BH.tv. By the time it was over I personally didn’t want to be associated with the site any more.”

“If you present a discussion about the scientific merits of ID, with someone who actually believes that such merits exist — then you are wasting my time and giving up on the goal of having a worthwhile intellectual discussion.

Hostility to ID does exists at Bloggingheads. Check out what one BHTV staffer wrote in a comment on Caroll’s blog:

17. David Killoren Says: August 31st, 2009 at 2:47 pm
I work for Bloggingheads.tv (but here I’m speaking only for myself). I agree that creationists and ID’ers are crackpots and do harm by corrupting the public perception of science. Appearing on a site that has featured crackpots could damage the reputation and integrity of reputable scientists, so I fully understand Sean’s choice to stay away from BhTV.

If the McWhorter/Behe diavlog is defensible, I don’t see how to defend it just now.

Anyway, this is just my opinion, but I think we (BhTV) screwed up — and the origins of that screw-up lie in my ill-fated decision to put together the Numbers/Nelson diavlog. One Sean Carroll diavlog is worth any number of creationism conversations. If I could rewind and start over I’d aim to do it all differently.

In ancient Rome, you could believe anything you liked as long as you accepted that Caeser was god. Today, you can believe anything you like as long as you accept that Darwinism is unquestionable. Some things never change.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

27 Responses to Sean Carroll takes his bat and ball home

  1. I’d be curious to know who judged that the Numbers-Nelson dialogue was a “failed experiment”.

    Bloggingheads is vastly better off without people like Sean Carroll.

    It won’t remain useful if it doesn’t host the real people involved in controversies – and just let them speak.

    That’s what the potential audience wants from such a medium. If they don’t get it there, they’ll go elsewhere.

    Of course, Bloggingheads could survive, on government grants, and host squabbles between gardening experts on the best compost and between chefs on the best way to beat up an omelette – but these controversies interest a very different type of person.

  2. I believe the Sean Carroll you’re discussing is the physicist-cosmologist, not the biologist. Does that make a difference? (No. This is all the more reason why he should actually listen to the Behe McWhorter exchange before judging the content as worthless.)

  3. 3

    I think that what troubles anti-IDists like Carroll the most about bloggingheads interviews is that they aren’t edited or contextually manipulated like the mainstream media representations of ID.

    People get to see the real ID, the actual proponents and their actual message without the filter of editing and graphical blurbs, insertions, cut-aways and run-ins that rig the perspective of the reader or viewer in the mainstream media.

    Since Carroll can’t control how ID is presented on bh.tv, he must try and harm the credibility of bh.tv via his column. Apparently, the Darwinists have moved on to a “scorched earth” policy; if you give the IDists and YECers an unbiased venue, then your venue becomes the target.

  4. Sean Carroll the biologist thinks that both ID and Creation are about stasis- no evolution occurs.

    But anyway anti-IDists cannot afford to have IDists tell it like it is.

    If IDists are allowed to do that then all the anti-ID lies and strawman arguments will be exposed.

  5. Sean Carroll the biologist thinks that both ID and Creation are about stasis- no evolution occurs.

    That’s not how I read the opposition to ID. It seems to me that the main, maybe even the only objection to ID and creationism is the appeal to supernatural or unidentifiable agents.

    Evolution is, as far as I can tell, an accepted fact even in ID quarters. The controversy is only about to what extent natural causes are sufficient, and to what extent a designer is required.

    I guess I better underscore that I am talking about the “evolutionary tree”, not about OOL – how life arose in the first place.

  6. Seems Robert is in full damage control and makes clear that he wasn’t responsible for the either of the two videos contested by some of the viewers.

    “I would certainly not have approved both of them, and probably not either of them, had I known about them.”

    Funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to sit well as the post following his beats him down after his groveling statement.

    “Sean, I agree with your decision. While I respect Mr. Wright’s comment above. it unfortunately shows that he was not doing his job to supervise and oversee content. That it happened once may be understandable; that it so quickly happened a second time is inexcusable.”

    There is blood in the water, and the piranhas are hungry. They will turn on each other. Got some popcorn?

  7. Slap in the face or reasonable assumption. I wonder how this comment will be taken.

    “Behe should only appear in conversation with someone who is truly expert in the relevant biological areas, and since most such matchups would yield a conversation unintelligible to a lay audience, it was hard to imagine a Behe pairing that would make sense.”

  8. What? No trial!? Expelled?

  9. Blind, pitiless indifference Mr. Wright. That’s the way the random chaotic cookie crumbles in Darwania.

    Remember also that one mans moral right is another’s wrong and neither view really matters in the end.

    Hows that non zero sum working out for ya?

  10. 10

    IRQ,

    I suspect that there are a lot of reasonable people in the Darwinist camp, and that after exposure to some of these kinds of incidents (and reading material such as Dawkins’ latest), might grow suspicious that something isn’t right in their house.

  11. Indeed Mr Murray. I wouldn’t waste my time posting as much as I do (on various other sites) if I knew I was just speaking to the choir.

    I take a lot of flak, but I believe in the end it is worth it.

  12. IRQ Conflict citation @ 7

    “Behe should only appear in conversation with someone who is truly expert in the relevant biological areas, and since most such matchups would yield a conversation unintelligible to a lay audience, it was hard to imagine a Behe pairing that would make sense.”

    Like Dawkins does? Like Sagan used to?

    Oh, I forgot. They’re among those who have been anointed by the Orthodox as High Priests to the sniveling masses.

    Re the cited commentator: Typical Darwinist jackass.

    DANG that pesky First Amendment!

  13. jstanley01 @12

    Indeed. That was an after thought of mine as well. Unfortunately the format here does not allow for editing else I would have mentioned that too. As you can see by my string of real time posts hehe. :)

  14. Cabal

    Evolution is, as far as I can tell, an accepted fact even in ID quarters. The controversy is only about to what extent natural causes are sufficient, and to what extent a designer is required.

    Evolution is accepted even to the extent of common descent (Behe) and the input of information from the enviroment into organisms thereby driving their evolution (Dembski, Marks). Of course, presumably Dembski has his own ideas about where that information is coming from but to the extent that evolution happens and “Darwinism” is true well beyond what is generally accepted here, well his paper assumes that that is indeed the case and so of itself does not dispute “Darwinism” in any way.

    So, given that the leading ID theorists posit that Darwinism is essentially true does it makes sense to rule out ID saying anything about the designer at all?

    After all, what’s now left to investigate?

    To investigate the way information was imparted into the fitness landscape (Dembski,Marks) which then produced “evolution as usual” would be little different to investigating the entity that put it there, or how would you suggest we seperate the two?

    And how could you go about such investigations anyway?

  15. Blue Lotus:

    So, given that the leading ID theorists posit that Darwinism is essentially true

    Not really.
    While IDists have always admitted micro evolution as a testable, observable fact, Darwinism is a whole different ball game. Macro evolution is its mainstay claim and that simply does not work with the evidence and ID at all.

    It is thus not, “evolution as usual” unless we’re only talking of adaptation and variation with the taxonomic family.

    Neo Darwinism is not mere change in allele frequencies over time, as there would never be a disagreement there.
    NDE is the creation of new body plans, organs and entirely new taxonomic phylum if not kingdoms; out of almost nothing – all by mere RMs + NS.

    *It ignores, or flat out denies, the problems of genetic entropy.
    *It is seriously out of sync with information theory (not just Shannon).
    *It cannot explain the biological explosions.
    *It’s basically useless for explaining a whole slew of biological entities like nano bio-machines, inter-cooperating cellular mechanisms, the existence of error detection and repair mechanisms, apoptosis, cellular meta-information…
    etc. etc.

    Thus, one must be careful not to conflate ID to the point of full compatibility with Darwinism. They are simply incompatible at fundamental points.

    Moreover, the implications – moral, social etc. – of the two are diametrically opposed.
    Ideas have consequences.

    As for the id of the designer I don’t think anyone is expecting to find, encoded in the most ancient DNA, anything like, “Made by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation”.

  16. I felt sorry for Robert Wright when I heard this but I see O’Leary is right. They really are better off with him and his ilk.

  17. It seems to me that the main, maybe even the only objection to ID and creationism is the appeal to supernatural or unidentifiable agents.

    1. ID does not appeal to the supernatural (unless intelligence == supernatural, in which case forensic science, archeology, and a host of other disciplines also appeal to the supernatural).

    2. ID may make an appeal (provisionally) to an unidentified agent, but how is assuming that the agent is unidentifiable any different than assuming we know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable (to paraphrase G. K. Chesterton)?

  18. I guess those at bloggingheads were at loggerheads. Maybe it should be called bloggerheads?

  19. Sean Carroll,

    ——”If I’m going to spend an hour of my life listening to two people have a discussion with each other, I want some confidence that they’re both serious people.”

    I’f I’m going to spend my time reading an article from someone, I want to know that that person is a serious person, and not someone who attempts to discredit other people (who actually are serious), without argument.

  20. And, not to mention, this Sean Carroll is a physicist. Incredible. He faults a linguist for not understanding biology because he’s not a biologist. But neither is Carroll. The argument he makes, when turned back on himself, turns out to be an argument against himself having the authority to make an argument.

    If Carroll can defend evolution as a non-biologist…what’s good for the goose is good for the gander…then McWhorter can critique evolution as a non-biologist.

    The double standard is absurd.

  21. Borne,

    Moreover, the implications – moral, social etc. – of the two are diametrically opposed.
    Ideas have consequences.

    As for the id of the designer I don’t think anyone is expecting to find, encoded in the most ancient DNA, anything like, “Made by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation”.

    I don’t think I agree much with you, but I’ll address only the above quote. Ideas have consequences, all right, but science claims evolution is a scientific fact, while ID proponents claim ID is a fact. With respect to the consequences of the idea of ID, I would think the implications would be very different whether the designer turned out to be what many ID proponents (including Behe) believe, God, instead of the “Sirius Cybernetics Corporation”.

    The search for designers: 1. Nature itself. 2. God. 3. Robots. 4. Biological creatures. Any other candidates? My own best candidate is 1. There are too many examples of poor design that even mere humans never would have made. We probably wouldn’t have created so many species of insects either. I guess robots would be my second choice. Space aliens would have done a better job.

    In short, any designer capable of having done it would also have been capable of avoiding much of the poor designs. We don’t know the mind of the designer? Right – but we know a lot about design and manufacture.

    Besides, I would expect any designer(s) except God would have left evidence of their activity on our planet.

  22. Cornelius Hunter, meet Cabal.

  23. ROFLMAO!

    Upright, I think Cornelius is not a scientist, but a prophet. LOL!

    Lets see. Cabal said..

    “…I would think the implications would be very different…”

    “…There are too many examples of poor design that even mere humans never would have made.”

    “…We probably wouldn’t have created so many species of insects either.”

    “Space aliens would have done a better job.”

    “…any designer capable of having done it would also have been capable of avoiding much of the poor designs.”

    And finally:

    “I would expect…”

    Yup! That about sums it up methinks. Thanks for proving the point Cabal

  24. “Cornelius Hunter, meet Cabal.”

    Nice catch Upright.

    Vivid

  25. Cabal,

    I have read and listened to Sean Carroll, the biologist.

    He thinks both ID and Creation are about stasis- the same strawman Darwin argued against.

    Bill Nye, the alleged science guy, said the same thing on TV.

    And that is why ID needs to at leasy be presented.

    I would also say that baraminology should be mentioned in schools- not taught- all I want is for kids to know what is being debated.

  26. Cabal,

    Did nature design itself?

    Science tells us that nature had a beginning.

    Natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for its origins.

    That is just one of the facts that IDists consider when considering a design inference pertaining to the universe.

    You and your ilk just try to ignore that fact and play-on as if that ignorance is meaningful.

  27. @Cabal

    It is interesting how you jump from “unidentifiable” straight to trying to identify the agent responsible for life. What is so fearsome about simply “unidentified?”

    You suggest Nature as the most likely designer.

    de?sign??
    –verb (used with object) 1. to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), esp. to plan the form and structure of
    2. to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully.
    3. to intend for a definite purpose
    4. to form or conceive in the mind; contrive; plan
    5. to assign in thought or intention; purpose

    In order to design, Nature would need the ability to plan or purpose. Darwinists seem to constantly give Nature these abilities while at the same time denying them.

    The true choice is this:

    1) Absolutely Nothing (not even Jana Levin’s “potential to exist” is responsible for life and everything.

    2) Something is responsible for life and everything.

Leave a Reply