Home » Intelligent Design, Just For Fun » What is a “pseudo-journalist”?

What is a “pseudo-journalist”?

Wesley Elsberry, in blogging about Denyse O’Leary’s recent coming on board here at UD, refers to her as a “pseudo-journalist” (go here)? What a curious designation. Does Wesley’s use of the prefix “pseudo” simply indicate his disapproval of O’Leary and, in particular, her failure to accept his brand of evolution? Or does the prefix indicate something substantive (Denyse, did you come on board here under false pretenses? Are you really a journalist at all? What exactly have you published in recognized media outlets?)

If Denyse is in fact a real journalist, does that make Elsberry a “pseudo-blogger”?

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45 Responses to What is a “pseudo-journalist”?

  1. 1

    I don’t think I’ve seen Elsberry blog on any ‘peer-reviewed’ blogs, so I’m going to have to call shenanigans. Something is clearly off here. And Denyse- how could you claim to be a journalist? I guess you don’t meet his own personal definition of what it takes to be one, so you’re suddenly NOT a journalist. Now, if you were in the Neo-Darwinist camp, your credentials would never be questioned, of course.

  2. I think the significance of the “pseudo” prefix is that of a psychological crutch. Ya see, folks like Elsberry can’t allow themselves to think that people like Denyse and yourself are legitimate contributors to your fields who come to objective, religiously-neutral conclusions that materialistic explanations are explanatorily inadequate for some natural phenomena. And so they have to convince themselves that you are either deluded or incompetent or “lying for God”. Usually, however, they’re able to hold their tounges because they know there’s nothing “pseudo” about your credentials. So what’s this from Dr. Elsberry? A Freudian slip, perhaps?

  3. Elsberry’s attempt to discredit Denyse is typical of the tactics of Darwinists. They know that the fundamental materialistic mechanisms proposed by the theory are in a state of evidential and logical meltdown, and that 85% of the American population don’t buy their highly speculative storytelling.

    Darwinian fundamentalists are in a demonstrable state of panic (for good reason), as evidenced by these tactics.

  4. One would probably find Elsberry’s either forgotten to take is meds (again!) or he simply disregards anyone who hasn’t published anything in his favorite ‘evolution-only’ journal/magazine and so his blatant arrogance and disgust for all non-evo people emerges again. My guess is it’s a bit of both.

  5. Hi all,

    Couldn’t sleep so was just puttering around my office, researching an upcoming feature for a women’s mag. I stopped to check the comments boxes when I came across this “pseudo-journalist” thread. What a larf!

    Of course I am a pseudo-journalist!!

    In the interests of pretending to be a journalist, I make a living writing for non-fiction print and Internet media. I have even gone to the trouble of writing two award-winning books, examining public issues.

    However, one can’t be too careful when putting up a facade. So I also have cards from:

    Canadian Association of Journalists
    Canadian Church Press Association
    Canadian Science Writers’ Association

    Also:

    professional class member, The Word Guild
    qualifying member, The Writers’ Union of Canada
    voting member, The Editors’ Association of Canada

    Admittedly, it’s all a lot of work and trouble.

    Fortunately, most people are not as smart as Wesley Elsberry, so they usually don’t see through it all. They have a bad habit of looking at the evidence. – Denyse

  6. According to the online Webster’s Dictionary, a “journalist” is “a person engaged in journalism; especially : a writer or editor for a news medium b : a writer who aims at a mass audience” [http://m-w.com/dictionary/journalist]. Included in Webster’s definitions on “journalism” is “writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest ” [see http://m-w.com/dictionary/journalism

    On that basis Denyse (and those of us who write blogs aimed at "a mass audience" on a matter of "public interest"-which intelligent design and evolution surely is) would be journalists.

    But if Wesley means a more traditional definition of "journalist," as someone whose day job is "writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine" (another of Webster's definitions of "journalist"), then presumably to be consistent Wesley would class Dawkins as a "pseudo-scientist"?

    That is because I presume it was a *very* long time ago that Dawkins' fitted the traditional definition of "scientist," as someone whose day job is "a scientific investigator" [http://m-w.com/dictionary/scientist] working in a lab doing scientific research?

    Stephen E. Jones
    http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/

  7. More drivel from Elsey Welsburry. I\’m shocked. And they wonder why they are losing credibility so fast.

  8. I have an unusual problem having to do with computers and this site and since it has a little relevance to Denyse I thought I would ask here. Rignt now I am looking at this site on both my desktop and laptop. But they show different screens. On the desktop is the new banner at the top showing both Bill and Denyse. On the laptop is the old banner which just has Bill on it. Both are Macintosh computers running the latest operating system which is Tiger. I have rebooted the laptop, closed down Safari two or three times but still the old screen appears.

    Any thoughts from computer experts? Am I the only one that still has the old screen but on just one computer?

  9. If his spelling is anything like his critical analysis, I’m surprised he even got Denyse’s name right.

  10. 10
    Stephen Elliott

    “More drivel from the atheistic fundamentalist, Elsey Welsburry. I’m shocked. And they wonder why they are losing credibility so fast.

    Comment by Scott — July 25, 2006 @ 8:05 am ”

    I don’t believe that Wesley Elsberry considers himself an atheist.

  11. Denyse,
    All those are just pseudo-credentials.

  12. From moderator Denyse: Hey guys, let’s be careful we are not pitching headfirst into the Elsberry ourselves.

    We don’t know whether he takes/forgot his meds, and if it WERE true, it’s all the more unsuited to a public discussion.

    Also, do we know for sure that he is an atheist? Has he said this? A comment trapped in the spam box questions that very point.

    Service note: If you are a couth person and your comments are not appearing, they may be trapped in the spam box, where I have just discovered a number of them. One of my next projects is addressing the spam box.

  13. To Jerry:

    try refreshing your browser to update the cache.

  14. Jerry,
    I don’t know why this would make a difference, but my browser didn’t pick up the new banner until I logged in again, even though I had previously cleared my cache and cookies.

  15. In the spirit of keeping our labels straight, it is only fair to say that no, Dr. Elsberry is not a professed atheist.

  16. In the spirit of keeping our labels straight, it is only fair to say that no, Dr. Elsberry is not a professed atheist.

    Agreed. My mistake. I tend to get my Myers & Elseberrys confused since they exhibit similar behavior over there at The Panda’s Bumâ„¢.

  17. Many of ID’s worst enemies are in fact professed Christians. When Paul Nelson and I debated Ken Miller and Wesley Elsberry at the big quadrennial skeptics meeting in Burbank in 2002, all of us except the moderator (i.e., Massimo Pigliucci) were professed church-going Christians. Interesting how being anti-ID drives skeptics, atheists, and even professed Christians to make common cause.

  18. Clearly, Denyse has written volumes about ID, including the criticisms of it. She’s light years ahead of Elsberry. In my Teleology page at researchID.org I rewrote “Often mischaracterized by journalists, ID…” into “Routinely mischaracterized by journalists,….”(dogmatic and antiID essay in Toronto Star helped out)

  19. For those who have tried to help with the banner on the top. I have refreshed the browser several times and shut down the computer and restarted the browser after booting up again.

    The problem is that the banner which is a jpg has the same name for both versions. I just found this out. So when I reload the page it only looks for new images and since the new banner has the same name as the old, my browser thinks it has the image already. It is not a big deal but the webmaster might want to change the banner name in the page design because there are probably others who have the same problem but don’t know it because they have not looked at the site on two different computers.

  20. One might ask what drives skeptics, atheists, and even professed Christians to make common cause? I have my own ideas but it is not from personal experience since I very rarely talk with others on this topic. Atheists, I understand because it is necessary for their belief system. But what about professed Christians? Why are they so adamant?

  21. 21
    sagebrush gardener

    Off-topic for jerry:

    Go to this link –
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ki-hdr.jpg

    Then click reload, and you should see the new image.

    Now go back to the main UD page, reload, and you should see the correct image at the top.

    That should work, but if not try clearing Safari’s cache:
    From the browser menu, select Safari > Empty Cache.

  22. I would say that those “Christians” who have taken a stand against ID are under the Darwinian spell. I guess they see ID as a threat for their long-stand with Darwinism.

    This comes no surprise since, according to one of the leading voices in the AnswersInGenesis.Org ministry, the majority of people who contact them with harsh and accusative remarks are………………professing “Christians”.

  23. The “pseudo-journalist” comment was uncalled for. However, that attitude does not just come from one side of the discussion:

    One might ask what drives skeptics, atheists, and even professed Christians to make common cause?

    Note how the word “professed” is just added to the term “Christians”, as if those Christians who disagree with ID aren’t real Christians.

    I would say that those “Christians” who have taken a stand against ID are under the Darwinian spell.

    Note the scare quotes around “Christians”.

    These tactics are just as indefensible as calling a journalist a pseudo-journalist.

  24. Jerry@20

    Atheists, I understand because it is necessary for their belief system. But what about professed Christians? Why are they so adamant?

    I would say that they take that stand due to their long stand with Darwinism. After years of spreading the Darwinian lie in their churches, they must save their face, and go on with the Darwinian theory until the end. Thank God, liberal, evolutionary churches are dying.

  25. The “pseudo-journalist” comment was uncalled for. However, that attitude does not just come from one side of the discussion:

    Interesting how being anti-ID drives skeptics, atheists, and even professed Christians to make common cause.

    Note how the word “professed” is just added to the term “Christians”, as if those Christians who disagree with ID aren’t real Christians.

    I would say that those “Christians” who have taken a stand against ID are under the Darwinian spell.

    Note the scare quotes around “Christians”.

    These tactics are just as indefensible as calling a journalist a pseudo-journalist.

  26. The rock-bottom starting point for both Judaism and Christianity is that the universe, living things, and human beings in particular were designed for a purpose. To argue against intelligent design in the nature of things is to argue against one of the most foundational tenets of the Judeo-Christian worldview and belief system.

  27. 27
    Stephen Elliott

    “Many of ID’s worst enemies are in fact professed Christians. When Paul Nelson and I debated Ken Miller and Wesley Elsberry at the big quadrennial skeptics meeting in Burbank in 2002, all of us except the moderator (i.e., Massimo Pigliucci) were professed church-going Christians. Interesting how being anti-ID drives skeptics, atheists, and even professed Christians to make common cause.

    Comment by William Dembski — July 25, 2006 @ 11:07 am ”

    Maybe it is because every new scientific idea meet with scepticism at first.

    All ID needs to do is present some evidence, make a few predictions that evolution doesn’t, then carry out a few experiments that show ID to be a better “predictor” than evolution.

  28. Max Kirk,

    I think the issue is why are some Christians so adamant in support of Neo-Darwinism when there is so much evidence contradicting it in many areas. Darwinism is certainly not central to any Christianity that I know of. So why the intense opposition to an alternative?

    I do not agree with the comment that it has anything to do with the long term stand for Darwinism that many have taken. If you are a biologist I can see where you are protecting your career but not if you have don’t have an academic biology job.

  29. GilDodgen wrote:

    The rock-bottom starting point for both Judaism and Christianity is that the universe, living things, and human beings in particular were designed for a purpose. To argue against intelligent design in the nature of things is to argue against one of the most foundational tenets of the Judeo-Christian worldview and belief system.

    This equivocates between ID as it is discussed here (which is what some Christians do not support) and the belief shared by all Christians that the universe was created by God. I believe that God created everything, including natural processes, and this is why natural processes are so well designed! So, I don’t need there to be holes in natural processes in order to support my belief that the universe and all within it owes its existence to God. The result is that I do not support ID as it is here described, but I remain not merely a professed Christian or a “Christian”, but a Christian.

  30. sagebrush gardener,

    Thank you.

  31. I don’t need there to be holes in natural processes

    If I remember aright Bill discusses that misconception of ID–that it requires “holes” in natural processes–in this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....14-4202222

  32. God might have designed natural processes but that does not mean that humans were designed or intended, which is the basic tenet that I mentioned. Neo-Darwinism claims that the natural process that resulted in humans is undirected, unplanned, without a goal, and unpurposed. ID asserts that the process that resulted in humans was purposed, so I argue that my original thesis stands.

  33. 33
    John A. Davison

    The most ironic feature of all of Elsberry’s pronunciamentos is his signature which he took from Dorothy Parker:

    “You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.”

    Isn’t that precious?

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

  34. “The result is that I do not support ID as it is here described, but I remain not merely a professed Christian or a “Christian”, but a Christian.” – Max Kirk

    As a Christian, I would not take offense if someone referred to me as a “professed Christian” because I held views that they considered unusual or unorthodox.

    One should be able to identify those who consider themselves Christians, without having to endorse their definition of “Christian”.

  35. Patrick, I haven’t read all of Dr. Dembski’s books, but I am quite aware of how ID is discussed here and elsewhere. Most ID advocates would not accept as ID the idea that natural processes that are so well designed that they can produce things like the bacterial flagella. Instead, they insist that there must be chasms that natural processes cannot leap.

    I have no reason to presume this is not the case. After all, I believe our existence will continue after death, which is certainly a belief in there being more to life than nature can account for. I am also completely open to the possibility that God could have signed his work, such as by embedding the Pentateuch into an organism’s DNA in a way that is trivial to decode. I don’t rule out these possibilities. I just disagree that the ID movement has found cases where God has signed his work or intervened to leap a chasm. Because of this, I would not fit within the big tent of ID.

    My own position is frequently called theistic evolution (which is a theist who accepts evolution, not an evolving group of deities), and while it has been suggested that all who hold a similar view may be stealth ID proponents, that is usually done by simplifying ID to be simply belief in an intelligence behind nature — something we do indeed agree on. It is with the validity of the specific interventions that ID claims to have found that I disagree.

    GilDodgen wrote:

    Neo-Darwinism claims that the natural process that resulted in humans is undirected, unplanned, without a goal, and unpurposed.

    I would agree that natural selection itself is without a purpose, but I think God is the author and sustainer of all nature, and he will accomplish his purposes for it. I think God can do that without requiring a strict determinism or directedness that squelches the freedom and other-ness of his creation. While God can work miraculously, he can also work through what he has made. For instance, God can work through the weather, even bringing rain in answer to prayer. Scientists neither need to nor are able to take this into account, yet they can still study the natural phenomena that produce our weather.

    russ wrote:

    As a Christian, I would not take offense if someone referred to me as a “professed Christian” because I held views that they considered unusual or unorthodox.

    I would consider tying support of the ID movement to Christianity to indeed by unusual and unorthodox, but I won’t call anyone a “Christian” (in quotes) if they disagree.

  36. Oops — flagella should be flagellum in my last post. Pesky Latin plurals.

  37. To me the support of Darwinism or neo Darwinism per se by many Christians is the issue. There are several other naturalistic mechanisms hypothesized by those who oppose ID. Why not support some of them as an alternative. Why the attack on ID and defense of Darwinism in particular. There are even some ID solutions that would accomodate the grand design scenario. The blind faith defense of Darwinism is what is odd by those who also say they are Christian when there is so much contradictory evidence. Why not search for a different way God might have done it.

  38. 38

    Herr Fuhrer Esley Welsberry (pronounced “Velsberry”), as John A. Davison calls him, cannot be taken seriously. On Panda’s Thumb, he once banned further discussion of my idea that the Ohio Board of Education should have heard public comments on the evolution lesson plan before — rather than after — voting on the plan. His reason? He was not aware of any of the public commenters complaining about it! What a jerk.

  39. jerry wrote:

    To me the support of Darwinism or neo Darwinism per se by many Christians is the issue.

    I purposely haven’t said I support Darwinism or neo Darwinism. I won’t say that because those terms mean different things to different people, and generally they suggest accepting science plus a certain philosophy rather than just accepting the science. I provisionally accept consensus science by default, and in the area of evolution, my acceptance is also due to it making sense based on my personal (non-expert) study.

    There are even some ID solutions that would accommodate the grand design scenario.

    Perhaps, but those solutions seem to violate some of the ground rules of the ID movement: being agnostic about the identity of the designer, and not insisting on a supernatural designer. ID is more likely to suggest smaller interventions in the grand design that could be aliens, could be time-travelling humans, or could be some type of deity or deities. When it comes to the grand design of the universe, the required skill set tends to eliminate all but one hypothesis.

    Why not search for a different way God might have done it.

    The same reason I don’t search for a different way than germ theory to explain disease. I happen to think the present explanations of consensus science are imperfect but on the right track.

  40. Max Kirk:

    There are even some ID solutions that would accommodate the grand design scenario.

    Perhaps, but those solutions seem to violate some of the ground rules of the ID movement: being agnostic about the identity of the designer, and not insisting on a supernatural designer.
    Who is the ID community to rule out a possible design mechanism just so that it doesn’t alienate the non-theistic wing of the community.

    A grand design model has dominated the cosmological wing of the ID movement – at least that’s how I interpret the strong anthropic principle. Grand design is the model presented by Denton. He would suggest that the strong anthropic principle extends deep into biology, and that it may ultimately prove to be a fully adequate, but very teleological, explanation for all that is. I find there to be something very attractive about the grand design hypothesis, and I certainly consider myself to be an IDer.

  41. bFast wrote:

    Who is the ID community to rule out a possible design mechanism just so that it doesn’t alienate the non-theistic wing of the community.

    First, I agree with your post. I think the problem is how far this would shrink the big tent. It requires taking a position on issues that ID has purposely left open. As you’ve stated, this would alienate the non-theistic wing, though that’s probably not a big loss as far as numbers. More significantly, most cosmological ID arguments are based on the fine-tuning of the big bang. Robin Collins’ work comes to mind. The big bang isn’t just any beginning — it’s a beginning roughly 13.7 billion years ago. Any argument that makes use of the big bang ends up alienating most of the young-earth creationists as well.

    The result is that the big tent starts to look pretty empty.

  42. Max Kirk: I’m afraid I’m not entirely happy what you bring to our discussion, so you’re out of here. As for my reference to “professed Christians,” it was not meant as a slur. By professed Christians, I simply mean Christians who publicly/explicitly acknowledge that they are Christians — I am as much a professed Christian as is Ken Miller.

  43. 43
    John A. Davison

    Darwinism in all its trappings should have died late in the 19th century at the same time that the Ether did in Physics and for exactly the same reasons. It failed experimental verification. It still does and always will. The only thing the Darwinian model ever demonstrated was the formation of intraspecific varieties. Such varieties have absolutely nothing to do with creative evolution, never did and never will. Don’t take my word for it.

    “Microevolution does not lead beyond the confines of the species, and the typical products of microevolution, the geographic races, are not incipient species. There is no such category as incipient species. Species and the higher categories originate in single macroevolutionary steps as completely new genetic systems. The genetical process which is involved consists of a repatterning of the chromosomes which results in a new genetic system.”
    Richard B. Goldschmidt. The Material Basis of Evolution, page 396

    Amen, but only if he had used the past tense!

    Phylogeny, like ontogeny, has proven to be an auto-regulated, self-limiting process which has run its course and apparently terminated with the production of Homo sapiens, as nearly as can be ascertained, the youngest mammalian species on the planet and most certainly the youngest primate. Extinction, which is all we now see, is the perfect counterpart to the death of the individual.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution is undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  44. Max Kirk@29

    This equivocates between ID as it is discussed here (which is what some Christians do not support) and the belief shared by all Christians that the universe was created by God.

    If I may say my opinion, I don’t really see where is the disagreement with the scientific enterprise which says that biological systems show clear signs of design, and the long standing Christian belief that the Handy Work of God is clearly seen in Nature.

    I believe that God created everything, including natural processes, and this is why natural processes are so well designed!

    In other words, God created natural laws so well that there is no empirical evidence that He created them?

    So, I don’t need there to be holes in natural processes in order to support my belief that the universe and all within it owes its existence to God.

    But, based on evidence, unguided natural process cannot account for Irreducible Complex systems, and/or complex specified systems. The only source of IC systems known to science is intelligence. So how is this against any Christian tenent?

    The result is that I do not support ID as it is here described, but I remain not merely a professed Christian or a “Christian”, but a Christian.

    Ken Miller kind of “Christian”? A Christian who says that science cannot detect signs of inteligence in biological systems? Dosn’t that clash directly with Rom 1:20 which says that simple observation of nature reveals design?

    I repeat what I said previously: “Christians” who object to ID don’t offer a valid scientic or theological for their rejection. Their rejection of ID as a valid scientific enterprise is based on philosophy, and perhaps (as I noticed with some anti-ID “Christians”), by their repulse for Creation Science and all its implications. I guess they bought into the Darwinian song that ID is Creationism.

  45. Max Kirk

    While God can work miraculously, he can also work through what he has made. For instance, God can work through the weather, even bringing rain in answer to prayer. Scientists neither need to nor are able to take this into account, yet they can still study the natural phenomena that produce our weather.

    However, when we reach a point where we can see that unguided natural laws are not able to generate such a system, one should be honest and say it (in the biology domain included).

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