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stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,03:30   

Quote
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Where does this confidence come from?

Some years ago I became interested in criticizing the latest mutation of creationism, intelligent design. In 2004, this culminated in the publication of Why Intelligent Design Fails, one of the leading books critical of ID, which I co-edited with Matt Young.

Lately I've eased off on ID, because I decided that I had said what I could about the subject. ID just wasn't intellectually interesting anymore: having figured out exactly why ID fails, we could learn what we could from that and move on. And ID proponents have not come up with anything truly new in years; they seem to have settled into a pattern of reasserting the same stuff and patting each other in the back about how revolutionary they all are.

Still, I keep an eye on what's going on in the ID area. Old interests don't vanish overnight. And I admit I am curious about the sense of triumph many ID writers tend to project. William Dembski keeps announcing that it's obvious to everyone but the dogmatic "Darwinists" that Darwinian evolution is, intellectually, a spent force. ID proponents still promote Dembski's pathetic "Explanatory Filter" and "Complex Specified Information" as luminous breakthroughs that are the centerpiece of the effort to rigorously indentify an irreducible signature of intelligence. Michael Behe announces that ten years after Darwin's Black Box, his critics have utterly failed to make headway with Darwinian explanations of molecular machinery in cells, and that he feels completely vindicated and more confident about ID than ever. And I just read Darwin Strikes Back, Thomas Woodward's insider "history" of the ID movement's recent doings, which transports the reader to a bizarre alternative universe where ID proponents are all pinnacles of intellectual virtue, where both theoretical developments and empirical data strongly undermine naturalistic, Darwinian "macroevolution," and where mainstream scientists hold on to Darwinian ideas almost entirely because of an ideological commitment to philosophical materialism. From the perspective of someone entrenched in the scientific mainstream such as myself, there is hardly a paragraph in Woodward's account of ID and its critics that is credible. And yet, he writes with the same overwhelming sense of confidence. He sincerely thinks that he's in the middle of an exciting intellectual revolution, that ID should be victorious at any moment (it's held back only by dogmatism and institutional inertia), and that the intellectual case for ID is all but wrapped up.

So, I can't help but be curious: where does this confidence come from? Someone here is severely deluded: ID proponents or their critics within mainstream science. Now, I think I can recognize crappy work that's not up to intellectual standards, and I'm pretty sure ID fits the description. I think there are some severe, likely fatal critiques of ID out there, and that most ID critics have done an honest (if often thankless) job rather than act under the influence of "metaphysical panic" as ID proponents would have it. The scientific community—which I think is by and large trustworthy, though not perfect— seems to be overwhelmingly against ID. Yet with all that, I'm damned if I can pump myself up to be so chirpily confident that I'm correct. It'd feel ridiculous. So again, what's with the ID crowd?


http://secularoutpost.blogspot.com/2007....om.html

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,05:51   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 18 2007,03:30)
   
Quote
So again, what's with the ID crowd?


http://secularoutpost.blogspot.com/2007....om.html


EDIT: Deleted based upon consideration of wise words by Recip. Bill.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
oldmanintheskydidntdoit



Posts: 4999
Joined: July 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,06:08   

As long as the books keep selling ID will be with us.

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,06:39   

Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Dec. 18 2007,06:08)
As long as the books keep selling ID will be with us.

Hold up!

"Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology by William A. Dembski"

Whoah. I did not know he'd written that. No wonder he ran from Dover. He'd have gotten plowed even worse than Behe with a book titled that.

Imagine having to explain that title on the stand.

--------------
"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
ERV



Posts: 329
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,07:38   

Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 18 2007,05:51)
Can you think of any of the leading lights of the ID movement that aren't described by this?

Yes.  Dembski is sociopathic.
-------
# Persistent lying or stealing
# Recurring difficulties with the law
# Tendency to violate the rights of others (property, physical, sexual, emotional, legal)
# Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
# Inability to keep a job
# A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
# Inability to tolerate boredom
# Disregard for the safety of self or others
# A childhood diagnosis of conduct disorders
# Lack of remorse for hurting others
# Possessing a superficial charm or wit
# Impulsiveness
# A sense of extreme entitlement
# Inability to make or keep friends
-------
Not joking.  He needs to see a professional.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,09:43   

Quote

Imagine having to explain that title on the stand.


Quite.

And then the content...

Like the chapter in "ID" that was a re-publication of an essay that Dembski had upbraided Rob Pennock for re-publishing in an anthology, as it was "outdated".

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,09:56   

The extension of psychiatric/psychological diagnoses and disorders into this debate is, IMHO, entirely off base. This is, for the most part, the wrong level of explanation for the phenomena described in the opening post.

I also object to the attribution of sociopathy/psychopathy to Wm. Dembski. He has his problems, but he is manifestly not sociopathic.

These are cheap shots and don't go to the issues of community allegiance, cult-like enforcement of cognitive comformity, generative entrenchment and other more sociological and political factors that (again IMHO) underlie the behavior we are witnessing. Best to start with Dennett's question ("Cui Bono?") and move from there.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,10:04   

Quote (ERV @ Dec. 18 2007,07:38)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 18 2007,05:51)
Can you think of any of the leading lights of the ID movement that aren't described by this?

Yes.  Dembski is sociopathic.
-------
# Persistent lying or stealing
# Recurring difficulties with the law
# Tendency to violate the rights of others (property, physical, sexual, emotional, legal)
# Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
# Inability to keep a job
# A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
# Inability to tolerate boredom
# Disregard for the safety of self or others
# A childhood diagnosis of conduct disorders
# Lack of remorse for hurting others
# Possessing a superficial charm or wit
# Impulsiveness
# A sense of extreme entitlement
# Inability to make or keep friends
-------
Not joking.  He needs to see a professional.

Jeez, I hate to quibble Abbie,  cuz, I think you nailed the Dembster right between the eyes, but I have a problem with one of the points you raised:

"# Possessing a superficial charm or wit"

I think you are only half right.

HTH :)

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
ERV



Posts: 329
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,10:39   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 18 2007,09:56)
The extension of psychiatric/psychological diagnoses and disorders into this debate is, IMHO, entirely off base. This is, for the most part, the wrong level of explanation for the phenomena described in the opening post.

I also object to the attribution of sociopathy/psychopathy to Wm. Dembski. He has his problems, but he is manifestly not sociopathic.

These are cheap shots and don't go to the issues of community allegiance, cult-like enforcement of cognitive comformity, generative entrenchment and other more sociological and political factors that (again IMHO) underlie the behavior we are witnessing. Best to start with Dennett's question ("Cui Bono?") and move from there.

The behavior I have witnessed of Dembski in person and online is not indicative of a healthy individual.  I have a family member with anti-social personality disorders, and I saw red flags with D. right off the bat, and, it is well known that people with mental health issues can go untreated until they 'break' because they hide behind religion.  

Behe, Wells, who the hell knows.  But I think its obvious that Dembski has very real problems, and I think one manifestation of that is his arrogance and brazen, baffling behaviors.  Its not a low-blow-- its a logical answer to the OP questions.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,10:49   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 18 2007,03:30)
Quote
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Where does this confidence come from?

Some years ago I became interested in criticizing the latest mutation of creationism, intelligent design. In 2004, this culminated in the publication of Why Intelligent Design Fails, one of the leading books critical of ID, which I co-edited with Matt Young.

Lately I've eased off on ID, because I decided that I had said what I could about the subject. ID just wasn't intellectually interesting anymore: having figured out exactly why ID fails, we could learn what we could from that and move on. And ID proponents have not come up with anything truly new in years; they seem to have settled into a pattern of reasserting the same stuff and patting each other in the back about how revolutionary they all are.

Still, I keep an eye on what's going on in the ID area. Old interests don't vanish overnight. And I admit I am curious about the sense of triumph many ID writers tend to project. William Dembski keeps announcing that it's obvious to everyone but the dogmatic "Darwinists" that Darwinian evolution is, intellectually, a spent force. ID proponents still promote Dembski's pathetic "Explanatory Filter" and "Complex Specified Information" as luminous breakthroughs that are the centerpiece of the effort to rigorously indentify an irreducible signature of intelligence. Michael Behe announces that ten years after Darwin's Black Box, his critics have utterly failed to make headway with Darwinian explanations of molecular machinery in cells, and that he feels completely vindicated and more confident about ID than ever. And I just read Darwin Strikes Back, Thomas Woodward's insider "history" of the ID movement's recent doings, which transports the reader to a bizarre alternative universe where ID proponents are all pinnacles of intellectual virtue, where both theoretical developments and empirical data strongly undermine naturalistic, Darwinian "macroevolution," and where mainstream scientists hold on to Darwinian ideas almost entirely because of an ideological commitment to philosophical materialism. From the perspective of someone entrenched in the scientific mainstream such as myself, there is hardly a paragraph in Woodward's account of ID and its critics that is credible. And yet, he writes with the same overwhelming sense of confidence. He sincerely thinks that he's in the middle of an exciting intellectual revolution, that ID should be victorious at any moment (it's held back only by dogmatism and institutional inertia), and that the intellectual case for ID is all but wrapped up.

So, I can't help but be curious: where does this confidence come from? Someone here is severely deluded: ID proponents or their critics within mainstream science. Now, I think I can recognize crappy work that's not up to intellectual standards, and I'm pretty sure ID fits the description. I think there are some severe, likely fatal critiques of ID out there, and that most ID critics have done an honest (if often thankless) job rather than act under the influence of "metaphysical panic" as ID proponents would have it. The scientific community—which I think is by and large trustworthy, though not perfect— seems to be overwhelmingly against ID. Yet with all that, I'm damned if I can pump myself up to be so chirpily confident that I'm correct. It'd feel ridiculous. So again, what's with the ID crowd?


http://secularoutpost.blogspot.com/2007....om.html

I think Taner Edis is missing an obvious explanation for the 'blinkered confidence': it's basically normal religious rhetoric. Try and imagine that the IDers weren't trying to peddle pseudoscience, and instead they were talking about some missionary efforts they were undertaking in the Third World. This kind of bubbly optimism no matter what's actually happening is completely normal in conservative Protestant churches when Advancing The Lord's Work, where there's a dominant idea that success depends mostly on one's 'attitude'. There are already so many ways in which ordinary religious rhetoric works its way into ID -- such as 'disproving' evolution based on the supposed wickedness of people who believe in it -- that you kind of get this explanation for free, I think.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
JohnW



Posts: 2767
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,10:57   

As far as I am concerned, the reason for IDers' confidence is straightforward.  They're not talking to scientists.  ID has always been primarily a social/cultural movement: one part Christian apologetics, one part far-right politics.  Since Dover, ID has been entirely a social/cultural movement.

They don't care what scientists think of them.  Looking at Dembski's recent Focus On The Family interview, they're not worried about even sounding like scientists.  They've abjectly failed to make any scientific headway, so they're concentrating on Plan B - sidestepping science completely and aiming straight at the hearts and minds of Christian fundamentalists and the people they elect.

If Huckabee's in charge of the NSF and NIH, who's going to be getting the grants?

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it. - Robert Byers

There isn't any probability that the letter d is in the word "mathematics"...  The correct answer would be "not even 0" - JoeG

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,11:05   

I dunno.  I've met none of the IDCH people in person, but from what they write and say publicly, Behe comes across to me more as a true believer, honestly self-deluded (perhaps deliberately so), and possibly heading for Javisonville.

Dembski on the other hand, while probably less than mentally healthy (Narcissism anyone?), comes across to me as a con-man.  I've said it over and again - if he believed half the crap he spews, he'd have shown up in Dover to vindicate his Righteous Science™.

Barbara Forrest

     
Quote (Barbara Forrest @ The "Vise Strategy" Undone)
Dembski already knew that such a day of legal reckoning was approaching. Exactly one month later, on June 6, he sat across from me when I was deposed as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the first ID legal case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. He attended my deposition as the adviser to the lead defense attorney, Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, and was scheduled to be deposed himself on June 13 as a defense witness. Besides being on opposite sides, there was another big difference between us: I showed up for my deposition. Dembski “escaped critical scrutiny by not having to undergo cross-examination” when he withdrew from the case on June 10 [6].


The fact that he appeared at depositions but then ran like a whipped dog speaks volumes.  Had he gotten on the stand, he'd have been eviscerated.  He knew that.  He poofed himself right out of Pennsylvania.  He's a narcissistic flim-flam artist, nothing more, nothing less.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,11:33   

Quote (ERV @ Dec. 18 2007,11:39)
The behavior I have witnessed of Dembski in person and online is not indicative of a healthy individual.  I have a family member with anti-social personality disorders, and I saw red flags with D. right off the bat, and, it is well known that people with mental health issues can go untreated until they 'break' because they hide behind religion.  

Perhaps. But there is a huge gulf between "not being a healthy individual" and, for example, being diagnosible with an antisocial personality disorder or, much more seriously, as a sociopath or "Cleckley psychopath," as indicated by many of the symptoms you tick off. The latter are quite dangerous individuals, have no need of hiding behind religion (although may manipulate by means of religion), and usually have a long history of frank criminality that, by definition, was evident in childhood. Dembski simply does not display any indications of this level of pathology, and it doesn't serve any purpose in this debate to so assert. BTW, "breaks" are not characteristic of psychopaths - they are cold inidividuals who experience little conflict or subjective psychological distress, and are typically further from a "break" than either you or I.

That said, vis the baffling behaviors WAD does exhibit, I find his streak of self-defeating behaviors to be most striking. Reading some of his earlier papers one is struck by the articulate writing style, seriousness of purpose, and the (superficial) credibility he displays therein. I find it difficult to square that earlier Dembski with the looney bin that has been Uncommon Descent over the last several years, and the poor judgment he has displayed since launching UD.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
George



Posts: 314
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,11:45   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Dec. 18 2007,10:49)
I think Taner Edis is missing an obvious explanation for the 'blinkered confidence': it's basically normal religious rhetoric. Try and imagine that the IDers weren't trying to peddle pseudoscience, and instead they were talking about some missionary efforts they were undertaking in the Third World. This kind of bubbly optimism no matter what's actually happening is completely normal in conservative Protestant churches when Advancing The Lord's Work, where there's a dominant idea that success depends mostly on one's 'attitude'. There are already so many ways in which ordinary religious rhetoric works its way into ID -- such as 'disproving' evolution based on the supposed wickedness of people who believe in it -- that you kind of get this explanation for free, I think.

I think this is too narrow of an explanation.  Here's mine: they're selling something.

Brash exuberance, overconfidence and product hyping is the trademark of salespeople and spin doctors everywhere.  They may believe in their product, they might not.  But by God, they'll do their damnedest to sell it.

Unfortunately for them, normal sales techniques don't work in science.  (Though they might work on scientists- how else do those annoying flashy yet sub-par gizmos wind up in the corners of labs all over the world?)

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,11:52   

Quote (George @ Dec. 18 2007,11:45)
   
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Dec. 18 2007,10:49)
I think Taner Edis is missing an obvious explanation for the 'blinkered confidence': it's basically normal religious rhetoric. Try and imagine that the IDers weren't trying to peddle pseudoscience, and instead they were talking about some missionary efforts they were undertaking in the Third World. This kind of bubbly optimism no matter what's actually happening is completely normal in conservative Protestant churches when Advancing The Lord's Work, where there's a dominant idea that success depends mostly on one's 'attitude'. There are already so many ways in which ordinary religious rhetoric works its way into ID -- such as 'disproving' evolution based on the supposed wickedness of people who believe in it -- that you kind of get this explanation for free, I think.

I think this is too narrow of an explanation.  Here's mine: they're selling something.

Brash exuberance, overconfidence and product hyping is the trademark of salespeople and spin doctors everywhere.  They may believe in their product, they might not.  But by God, they'll do their damnedest to sell it.

But I would maintain that that's the motive for this attitude in churches, too.

However, I think JohnW is also completely right when he points out that people like us are simply not ID's target audience.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
George



Posts: 314
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,12:06   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Dec. 18 2007,11:52)
But I would maintain that that's the motive for this attitude in churches, too.

However, I think JohnW is also completely right when he points out that people like us are simply not ID's target audience.

Oh, yes.  I was just pointing out that it's not exclusive to religion.  But I'll grant you the absolute certainty that comes from fundamentalism does put an extra shine in the proselytiser's eye.

And absolutely yes on point two.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,12:17   

I think it is important, as always, not to generalize. The three categories of IDers (guru, proselytizer, and chump, for lack of a better taxonomy) have different motives, and different bases for their "blinkered confidence".

Gurus (e.g. Dembski) don't really believe it; they are the salesmen, just trying to make a buck. The argument about how if he really believed it he would have made sure that he could testify in KvD is pretty convincing, IMHO. A true believer would fight to get to the witness stand; a salesman would retreat as soon as it became obvious there was no sale. As long as he can make a buck from it, he'll exude confidence. He has to; there are no other options. Unless he wants to get a real job and work for a living...

Proselytizers (e.g. FtK) probably do believe that this battle is being won, and that the forces of atheism will be vanquished by the forces of god. That belief comes with a price - cognitive dissonance. Just don't think about it too much and you can maintain a faith that you understand, at some level, to be questionable in the reality-based world you have to inhabit most of the time. But as long as you can retreat to the non-reality-based world, believe in miracles, and the gurus above you remain confident, you can remain confident.

The chumps (e.g. BA77, lots of folks in pews and Sunday Schools every week) believe it because that is what they are told by authority figures. And if there is anything that explains the behavior of those folks, it is deference to authority figures.

So for different categories of IDers, there are different explanations. But if this analysis is correct, the key is the gurus. If they would stop peddling BS, the underlings would have no confidence at all. It is not likely that the gurus will stop, however. They need to make a living, feed their families, etc., and economics will continue to trump ethics for those guys. It can't be fun to face the mirror every morning, but they gotta do what they gotta do.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,12:24   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 18 2007,13:17)
So for different categories of IDers, there are different explanations. But if this analysis is correct, the key is the gurus. If they would stop peddling BS, the underlings would have no confidence at all. It is not likely that the gurus will stop, however. They need to make a living, feed their families, etc., and economics will continue to trump ethics for those guys. It can't be fun to face the mirror every morning, but they gotta do what they gotta do.

No, it's not likely the gurus will stop. After you've realized you're not cut out to be, or interested in being, a scientist, and discovered that some blinkered fundies will pay you thousands of dollars to give a 1-hour talk that you can largely shoplift from real schools like Harvard, what choice do you have?

   
JohnW



Posts: 2767
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,12:51   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 18 2007,10:24)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 18 2007,13:17)
So for different categories of IDers, there are different explanations. But if this analysis is correct, the key is the gurus. If they would stop peddling BS, the underlings would have no confidence at all. It is not likely that the gurus will stop, however. They need to make a living, feed their families, etc., and economics will continue to trump ethics for those guys. It can't be fun to face the mirror every morning, but they gotta do what they gotta do.

No, it's not likely the gurus will stop. After you've realized you're not cut out to be, or interested in being, a scientist, and discovered that some blinkered fundies will pay you thousands of dollars to give a 1-hour talk that you can largely shoplift from real schools like Harvard, what choice do you have?

Let's not underestimate the ego-boosting effects of drinking the ID Kool-Aid.  It makes it easier to look in the mirror if instead of being just another ho-hum academic with a modest publication record, you're a "leading scientist and mathematician" everywhere you go (see here, for example).  Everyone who embraces ID creationism, from Behe to Sternberg to Gonzales, is suddenly transformed into a titan of their field.

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it. - Robert Byers

There isn't any probability that the letter d is in the word "mathematics"...  The correct answer would be "not even 0" - JoeG

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,13:50   

If the puddle's small enough, everbody can be a big fish.

--------------
"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,14:04   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 18 2007,12:17)
I think it is important, as always, not to generalize. The three categories of IDers (guru, proselytizer, and chump, for lack of a better taxonomy) have different motives, and different bases for their "blinkered confidence".

Gurus (e.g. Dembski) don't really believe it; they are the salesmen, just trying to make a buck. The argument about how if he really believed it he would have made sure that he could testify in KvD is pretty convincing, IMHO. A true believer would fight to get to the witness stand; a salesman would retreat as soon as it became obvious there was no sale. As long as he can make a buck from it, he'll exude confidence. He has to; there are no other options. Unless he wants to get a real job and work for a living...

Proselytizers (e.g. FtK) probably do believe that this battle is being won, and that the forces of atheism will be vanquished by the forces of god. That belief comes with a price - cognitive dissonance. Just don't think about it too much and you can maintain a faith that you understand, at some level, to be questionable in the reality-based world you have to inhabit most of the time. But as long as you can retreat to the non-reality-based world, believe in miracles, and the gurus above you remain confident, you can remain confident.

The chumps (e.g. BA77, lots of folks in pews and Sunday Schools every week) believe it because that is what they are told by authority figures. And if there is anything that explains the behavior of those folks, it is deference to authority figures.

So for different categories of IDers, there are different explanations. But if this analysis is correct, the key is the gurus. If they would stop peddling BS, the underlings would have no confidence at all. It is not likely that the gurus will stop, however. They need to make a living, feed their families, etc., and economics will continue to trump ethics for those guys. It can't be fun to face the mirror every morning, but they gotta do what they gotta do.

Excellent - Put this with Anyday's "anyone can be a big fish if the puddle's small enough", comment and I believe we have successfully summed up Idists.  (But I still think ERV is right about Dembski to a certain extent.  Can't he be only semi-psychotic?  Or , since he's an ID Guru, a demi-psychotic?

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,14:17   

Quote (J-Dog @ Dec. 18 2007,15:04)
(But I still think ERV is right about Dembski to a certain extent.  Can't he be only semi-psychotic?  Or , since he's an ID Guru, a demi-psychotic?

Actually, "psychopathic" is unrelated to "psychotic." The first refers to a severe personality deficit marked by an utter lack of capacity for empathy for others, and hence the absence of conscience, while the second refers to loss of reality contact (hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, thought disorder, etc.). Dembski is neither.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,15:46   

Quote (Annyday @ Dec. 18 2007,12:50)
If the puddle's small enough, everbody can be a big fish.

Brrrr. That was cold! :)

Eric Hoffer in The True Believer:  
Quote
The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction. The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without.

I cannot find the quote, but he also said that people tend to follow someone who confidently states nonsense than those who speak truths which the speaker does not believe are absolute.

Albatrossity2's summary was spot-on, IMHO. *thumbs up*

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
bystander



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,15:47   

I agree with ERV that Dembski is definitely unhealthy. He reminds me of stalkers. Everybody has a stalker story, but my friend broke up with his girlfriend who then:

1. Took out an AVO on him. He didn't care.
2. The next day called him up to go out for a drink
3. Was caught breaking into his house and stealing his cat and started beating at him when caught.
4. Rang up again as though nothing had happened and went into abuse when told to go away.

I think you swap the boyfriend for science/Baylor and  Dembski as the girl in this case. I think deep down that Dembski loved the short time he had in real Academia and is acted as a jilted lover.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,18:06   

Quote (bystander @ Dec. 18 2007,16:47)
I agree with ERV that Dembski is definitely unhealthy. He reminds me of stalkers. Everybody has a stalker story, but my friend broke up with his girlfriend who then:

1. Took out an AVO on him. He didn't care.
2. The next day called him up to go out for a drink
3. Was caught breaking into his house and stealing his cat and started beating at him when caught.
4. Rang up again as though nothing had happened and went into abuse when told to go away.

I think you swap the boyfriend for science/Baylor and  Dembski as the girl in this case. I think deep down that Dembski loved the short time he had in real Academia and is acted as a jilted lover.

[rant]
Dembski's behaviors and obsessions may be "like" that of a stalker in some loose sense, but the assertion that his behavior is actually comparable to breaking and entering, theft, etc. originating out of obsessions resembling those of a romantically or sexually motivated stalker, and reflects similar psychopathology, is out to lunch. A two hour lunch with cocktails and a lap dance. As I remarked above, a considerable gulf separates Dembki's "unhealthy" public foibles and failings from the kind of pathology that motivates such disordered behavior - particularly psychopathy and psychoticism.

Look. What ID is NOT is a science. What renders it something other than science is its inability to generate hypotheses that are amenable to empirical confirmation, owing to its inherently supernatural mechanism. Nevertheless, ID has been dishonestly presented as science. That dishonesty has a history. IMHO, underlying that dishonesty, at least in Dembski's case, have been more honest and deeply felt motives, particularly his Christianity, and I infer that he began his quest with the notion that he was genuinely crusading for souls through his advancement of ID. I think he's lost his way in a "ends justify the means" sense and is now pursuing a cause that he knows to be refuted and unsustainable for quite ordinary reasons: ID defines him within a large and adoring community with which he identifies, he has put his entire reputation and career on the line for that lost cause within that community, he makes his living doing so, and there is no going back. Like many apparently smart people who do stupid things, he has ventured far out onto a limb from which there is no return. He has displayed some unattractive and oftentimes baffling personality characteristics as he does so, very likely reflecting desperation. I don't very much like him - although he has had his moments. But none of this amounts to mental illness, or a genuine personality disorder reflecting the levels of pathology suggested above.

What science DOES value is fidelity to data and conceptual integrity. Assertions regarding putative serious mental illnesses and personality disorders are very unbecoming of this community, because NO ONE here has the data needed to make these judgments. Nor do I detect much grasp of the conceptual and empirical fundamentals of psychopathology as these notions are tossed around. This is ad hominem ridicule at its worst: uninformed and inaccurate - and this is coming from a guy who has heaped his share of ridicule upon the ideas and behaviors advanced at UD and similar sites.

Ultimately, it better serves us within the larger community to model fidelity to data and conceptual honesty as we critique ID and its principals, and as we advance the scientific alternatives.
[/rant]

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,20:12   

RB what you say is true, but I would add a further distinction that may be at the root of this issue.

Quote
...IMHO underlying that dishonesty, at least in Dembski's case, have been more honest and deeply felt motives, particularly his Christianity, and I infer that he began his quest with the notion that he was genuinely crusading for souls through his advancement of ID...


Two points.  

1)  We should be more specific about what is the damage from the ID movement.  I've raised the devils advocate issue before:  What does it matter if your car mechanic or the mailman or the guy who delivers your pizza can't tell the difference between ID and science?

I'm not sure why it matters, but I think it does.  Perhaps for the simplest fact that they are wrong, and I can see through the clever bait and switches that their arguments are propped on.

But if we agree that there has been real harm done, in whatever metric, then Dembski is not just acting out on his own and only damaging his personal credibility and showing his ass.  ID arguments make people stupider.  If there is any sort of negative effect to this (I am conveniently overlooking our gleeful devouring of the tard), then Dembski is getting his religious jollies at the expense of some public trust and resource.

2)  Maintaining that even though this is true (acknowledging damage) yet it is 'not so bad' would be a hard argument to make.  It could only be true if you had some sort of priority for converting souls to jeeesus, and I think he has established this over and over, and sees it a badge of honor or distinction.  Thus, the machiavellian motives you aspire to him are probably real.  

Armchair diagnoses are probably a bad idea.  Even so, this is one crazy bible thumping freak who seems like he acts like a 4 or 5 year old pushing around toys or blocks in some sort of game where no one gets hurt.  I am convinced that ID makes people stupider, and I am fairly sure that he knows this as well, and that makes him a little bit more dangerous than the light hearted sweater wearing misunderstood adolescent with an inferiority complex and a huge hard on for jesus that your comments seem to imply.

Psychopathic, maybe, maybe not, who the hell knows.
Dangerous charlatan peddling the hard tard, absolutely.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,20:33   

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Dec. 18 2007,20:12)
I've raised the devils advocate issue before:  What does it matter if your car mechanic or the mailman or the guy who delivers your pizza can't tell the difference between ID and science?

I'm not sure why it matters, but I think it does.  Perhaps for the simplest fact that they are wrong, and I can see through the clever bait and switches that their arguments are propped on.

Ask the taxpayers in Dover PA if it matters...

It matters because, as we learned in Kansas and others are now learning in other states, mechanics and mailmen and pizza delivery guys vote in school board elections (and elsewhere). So if they can't distinguish between science and charlatanism, they won't support good education for your kids and everybody else's kids.

I absolutely agree with RB's take on armchair diagnoses. Nobody here has the data to support a clinical diagnosis. Dembski has his issues (we all do), but if you were him, looking at how far he has fallen from the glory days, you might be a bit erratic as well. He's a salesman, and sales have dropped off sharply. He's a pretty smart guy, and yet he's surrounded by people who are mental midgets on UD. He's teaching philosophy to people whose career goal is to be a Baptist minister. All of that is crazy-making.

No need to invoke mental disease when plain old human nature can explain a lot of his behaviors of late.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,20:41   

Quote
Psychopathic, maybe, maybe not, who the hell knows.
Dangerous charlatan peddling the hard tard, absolutely.


Sounds like you agree, albie?  Given that no one here is expecting clinical diagnoses here, and no one is claiming any credentials, I call it taking the piss.

Yet pointing out, as you did better than I, that Demsbki's antics don't just hurt himself, is the point.

Careless disregard for other people and smearing shit all over the face of honest biologists, all at the expense of the people on the ground like useful idiots Bonsell, Buckingham, Dave Springer, Granny Tard, etc etc (AND HIM COMPLETELY COGNIZANT that this is what he is doing) is just plain psychopathic nuts.  He's like the Penguin to Batman.  

If he is self aware at all, and is personally honest about his intentions and purposes, then he knows that is tearing up someone else's toys and pooping on their rug.  Psychopathic, maybe maybe not.  Five year old putative puppy beater, definitely.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,21:09   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Dec. 18 2007,21:41)
Quote
Psychopathic, maybe, maybe not, who the hell knows.
Dangerous charlatan peddling the hard tard, absolutely.


Sounds like you agree, albie?  Given that no one here is expecting clinical diagnoses here, and no one is claiming any credentials, I call it taking the piss.

Yet pointing out, as you did better than I, that Demsbki's antics don't just hurt himself, is the point.

Careless disregard for other people and smearing shit all over the face of honest biologists, all at the expense of the people on the ground like useful idiots Bonsell, Buckingham, Dave Springer, Granny Tard, etc etc (AND HIM COMPLETELY COGNIZANT that this is what he is doing) is just plain psychopathic nuts.  He's like the Penguin to Batman.  

If he is self aware at all, and is personally honest about his intentions and purposes, then he knows that is tearing up someone else's toys and pooping on their rug.  Psychopathic, maybe maybe not.  Five year old putative puppy beater, definitely.

If we're saying that the big problem here is Dembski is making, for instance, William Buckingham and Denyse O'Leary and BA77 dumber, then I have to wonder how much damage we're really talking about.

It's a bit like if someone were robbing homeless people of their aluminum cans. Yes, it's a problem, but it's not exactly priority number 1 down at the precinct.

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,21:53   

I am NOT arguing that Dembski's behavior is harmless. Persons who climb out onto limbs from which there is no return often do harm out of their desperation, and in pursuit of pedestrian motives such as I described above.

I doubt, however, Dembski's behaviors arise from a cynical, self-aware intention to do harm, and would argue that if you conclude that, you are missing a dimension of this sort of self-validating righteousness that makes it, in some ways, particularly obnoxious and even dangerous. It is my opinion that WAD and ilk are convinced that they are doing "good," as defined from within the frame of reference of their particular and peculiar religious community. ID's failure to attain traction notwithstanding, I am convinced that WAD (and many others) really do perceive the conflated amalgam of naturism, materialism and atheism they have constructed as an evil against which they are called to do spiritual battle. As Dennett discusses in "Breaking the Spell," there is a felt-heroism in this subculturally sanctioned battle that energizes and subjectively valorizes these efforts, and the conviction they display makes it attractive to potential converts within the larger community. And it is the nature of this valorized battle that they perceive themselves as doing good on the side of an Absolute Good that ultimately cannot fail - which speaks to questions regarding their puzzling unwarranted optimism that opened this thread. From outside that subcultural echo chamber we see these to be very distorted ideas that may cause considerable harm. But that is from the outside. That is not what is seen from inside.

I'm not defending the results. But the origins of those distortions are cultural and subcultural, and grounded in the siege mentality of one particularly closed community, not in diagnosable individual deficits of mental health. Indeed, these are the mechanisms that make fundamentalisms of all stripes around the world dangerous. In fact, there is a sense that the attribution of these behaviors to unchosen psychopathology would mitigate and somewhat exonerate these behaviors and choices. I am not interested in providing that cover.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 18 2007,22:47   

RB, while I think most IDers would fit your description well, I have to come back to Dover.

Why didn't WAD take the stand while Behe did?

The best reason I can come up with is that he was peddling bullshit, knew he was peddling bullshit, and saw that everyone else knew and could prove that he was peddling bullshit.

He's not fighting the good fight, he's fleecing the rubes.  To me, that puts him on a level far below the typical IDiot, even the dishonest "liars for Jesus" bunch.  WAD is just a "liar for WAD".  By contrast, MB's taking the stand tells me that he at least believes in the goal.  I don't know if he believes his own words or not, I can't tell, but either way he's a cut above WAD, just for showing up.

Mentally ill?  I don't know if WAD's issues rise to the level of a clinical condition and as I have neither examined him, nor am I even qualified to examine him, I'll pass on the question this time around.  Yet there is definitely something not right in his head, and you don't have to be a professional to see that.

In short (or not), I think you give him too much credit.

That's not intended as any sort of medical diagnosis, just a layman's observation, in the vein of "theory" vs. "Scientific Theory".

(Perhaps this definitional disconnect is the source of the current disagreement in this thread?)

Having blathered all that, I confess I've been wrong before, I'll be wrong again, and it's entirely possible that I'm wrong right now.  But I don't think so.  (...because if I did think I was wrong, I'd change my position so that I could be right, in which case I was right that I was wrong, and I'm always right, right?.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 19 2007,06:37   

I'll qualify what I've said by emphasizing the temporal dimension I underscored earlier:

   
Quote
I infer that he began his quest with the notion that he was genuinely crusading for souls through his advancement of ID. I think he's lost his way in a "ends justify the means" sense and is now pursuing a cause that he knows to be refuted and unsustainable.


With that qualification, I's suggest that Demski, as a much younger man writing the dissertation that became "The Design Inference," started more or less as I described in my last post, i.e. quite earnestly crusading to undermine "materialist science" and thereby save souls. I see too much seriousness of purpose and hard work in these early works to believe that he started with the intention to devise snake oil and con his audience. Rather, I believe he earnestly constructed a theory that came to be admired within the scientifically unsophisticated community of which he is a member, and became a phenomenon and celebrity within that community. That stuff is hard to walk away from.

It is also worth remembering that he and Behe were seen as much more of a threat at the outset than they are now. If you go back and read the debate as it unfolded in the late '90s and early 2000s you'll read much more serious engagement with the ideas promulgated by ID than is typical now. I'd guess that reinforced his sense that he was on to something important. By the time Dover arrived, however, Dembski understood that he had been committed to an unsustainable position, knew he was about to be shredded, and fled. But I would argue that what he recognized as no longer sustainable was the fiction that he could construct a sanitized version of ID that was shorn of its religious and supernatural core such that it could be taught in science classrooms. That was the central issue at Dover over which he was about to be dismantled.

Since then the fiction that "this is science, not religion" has been more or less abandoned at UD, the inmates have taken over the asylum, and Demski has become more frank in his own public statements regarding his belief that "the designer is the Christian God" (although he has always said as much - while attempting to segregate those statements from the "science" itself). So I don't know that he has abandoned his convictions regarding the reality of God and design. The core position of ID - the position he knew could not win at Dover - is, "God designed the world, and is responsible for the complexity we see within biology, particularly cell biology. That should be detectable empirically." He probably understands that he has failed to show that, and failed to provide any real tools for doing that. Most of us know that even that more frank version of ID must fail, but I think he still believes that core, or at least hopes he can make it true.

All of this calls to mind Updike's somewhat prescient novel "Roger's Version," in which a young computer scientist attempts to discern God by means of a series of networked VAX 11/780s.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 19 2007,08:26   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 19 2007,07:37)
I'll qualify what I've said by emphasizing the temporal dimension I underscored earlier:

       
Quote
I infer that he began his quest with the notion that he was genuinely crusading for souls through his advancement of ID. I think he's lost his way in a "ends justify the means" sense and is now pursuing a cause that he knows to be refuted and unsustainable.

Ahhh... reading for comprehension.  I've been meaning to try that.  For some reason, that bit just didn't manage to osmosificate its way into my cranial cavity the way it should have.

With the caveat that I think he's further down the pike of despair and realization than you seem to feel, I'll buy the rest.  I wonder if "the reality of God" has at this point even become just irrelevant to him.

Perhaps I'm inferring more malice than you are, and/or than is there.

Stranger things have happened.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 19 2007,10:39   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 19 2007,06:37)
By the time Dover arrived, however, Dembski understood that he had been committed to an unsustainable position, knew he was about to be shredded, and fled. But I would argue that what he recognized was no longer sustainable was the fiction that he could construct a sanitized version of ID that was shorn of its religious and supernatural core such that it could be taught in science classrooms. That was the central issue at Dover over which he was about to be dismantled.

Yeah, I think WAD, like most preachers and snake-oil salesmen, did start out with good intentions, saving souls, etc. And if you have the right outlook (born-again Christianity) and happen to be good at math or whatever, saving souls through the application of your god-given talents is certainly attractive. The accolades of your tribe (which does not include a lot of folks with ability and credentials) would grease the way, and so you find yourself at the top of a heap, publishing books and changing the world. For a while.

But somewhere along the way, if he is as smart as he thinks he is he had to figure out that this is a scam. So the real question is WHEN did that happen. When did he fully understand that he just lying for Jesus, like many of the other more traditional preachers/snake-oil salesmen (Bakker, Falwell, Robertson, Hovind et al.)?  Obviously it happened prior to Dover. He was certainly caught lying before then; Wes' meta-treatment of Amadan's ditty reminded me of the Amazon book review fiasco in '04, which I had forgotten about. Maybe his epiphany happened a long time prior to Dover; I'll leave it to the dedicated WADologists to read through the tea leaves of his writings.

But the point of all this, as RB noted, is that you don't need to invoke pathology to account for WAD's actions. His history is an evolutionary one, and he arrived at his present state of lying-for-jesus (or lying for WAD) by way of purely natural mechanisms.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 19 2007,13:32   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 19 2007,10:39)
But the point of all this, as RB noted, is that you don't need to invoke pathology to account for WAD's actions. His history is an evolutionary one, and he arrived at his present state of lying-for-jesus (or lying for WAD) by way of purely natural mechanisms.

RB et al - Yes, you all make excellent points, and I understand that we, (I actually mean me), are not really qualified to psycho-analyze WAD, and I know we don't need to attribute WAD's actions to pathology, I just think we can.

... "he arrived at his present state of lying-for-jesus (or lying for WAD) by way of purely natural mechanisms."

Well, isn't pathology a purely natural mechanism?

I still think he's crazy, and he's gonna wind up in a tower someplace looking down the barrel of a bible and a gun.  Although I would be willing to accept an alternative ending, with him getting older and crankier, and turning into the meanest SOB in the church, until he moves to the Holy Family Designed Home For Living, where his life support will be "accidently" unplugged by a caregiver that had heard more than enough of WAD's abusive vitriol.  

After his death, they will find a 1,257 page manuscript purporting to prove through mystical, mathematical models that he was never wrong, not even once in his entire lifetime.  It will not get published.

DaveScot Springer IV, in a press release from the Floating Command Center, will mourn the passing of a
TrueScientist™ and reach for another bag of Cheesy Poofs.

So ends the sordid tale.



That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 20 2007,10:48   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 19 2007,09:39)
   
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 19 2007,06:37)
By the time Dover arrived, however, Dembski understood that he had been committed to an unsustainable position, knew he was about to be shredded, and fled. But I would argue that what he recognized was no longer sustainable was the fiction that he could construct a sanitized version of ID that was shorn of its religious and supernatural core such that it could be taught in science classrooms. That was the central issue at Dover over which he was about to be dismantled.

Yeah, I think WAD, like most preachers and snake-oil salesmen, did start out with good intentions, saving souls, etc. And if you have the right outlook (born-again Christianity) and happen to be good at math or whatever, saving souls through the application of your god-given talents is certainly attractive. The accolades of your tribe (which does not include a lot of folks with ability and credentials) would grease the way, and so you find yourself at the top of a heap, publishing books and changing the world. For a while.

But somewhere along the way, if he is as smart as he thinks he is he had to figure out that this is a scam. So the real question is WHEN did that happen. When did he fully understand that he just lying for Jesus, like many of the other more traditional preachers/snake-oil salesmen (Bakker, Falwell, Robertson, Hovind et al.)?  Obviously it happened prior to Dover. He was certainly caught lying before then; Wes' meta-treatment of Amadan's ditty reminded me of the Amazon book review fiasco in '04, which I had forgotten about. Maybe his epiphany happened a long time prior to Dover; I'll leave it to the dedicated WADologists to read through the tea leaves of his writings.

But the point of all this, as RB noted, is that you don't need to invoke pathology to account for WAD's actions. His history is an evolutionary one, and he arrived at his present state of lying-for-jesus (or lying for WAD) by way of purely natural mechanisms.

I agree that WAD started out with good intentions. But the whole ID thing is a scam and was from the beginning. The Wedge Document is proof of this. WAD believes in God, he wants others to, so he pushes ID as a way to separate people's construction of their personal meaning in life from scientific fact.

That's what WAD is about, and what he's always been about. Ironically, it is ID that has been the wedge deepening the rift between WAD's apparently sincere belief in God, to which he has entrusted (as most religious people do) his morals, ethics, and sense of purpose, and his intellectual credibility (or lack thereof). He is unintentionally using the Wedge on himself, and thus preventing his (apparently otherwise healthy) religious faith and ethics to guide him in his quest.

No, I don't think WAD is a sociopath. I sincerely do not. When the chips are down, I am sure you could trust the guy with your life. (I'm not sure I'd say that about a few other UD moderators, but I'd say it about even some of the craziest UD commenters.) WAD just isn't very self-aware. He's not seeing what's happening to him, how he sounds to us. In real life, he's probably much different, laughs, has normal reactions, etc. But he cannot see how bitter he sounds, nor that he is draining the life from his own religious belief by pushing ID, because the more one fights for ID, the more one constructs (despite all their denials) who the Designer is, and no one can worship any god that they are aware of having constructed.

But I can't say this to him, because I'm an atheist. WAD hates atheists. That one can be an atheist and advocate, for others who are religious, that believers at least have a healthy and psychologically consistent theology is unimaginable to him. He thinks "Darwinists" hate him so much. I don't think people, like us, pay this much attention, as we do, to something they "hate." WAD is so dug-in that he doesn't realize that the "enemy" has largely moved on. The war is over, really. But he's clutching his gun, determined to fight to the bitter end against people who really aren't interested in fighting him anymore.

It's lack of perspective, groupthink; it's compartmentalization, and we all do it at times - but it's not psychotic, in my admitted nonprofessional view.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 20 2007,13:36   

Quote (Kristine @ Dec. 20 2007,10:48)
He is unintentionally using the Wedge on himself, and thus preventing his (apparently otherwise healthy) religious faith and ethics to guide him in his quest.

Excellent comment Kristine!

To clarify what you said, would you say that Dembski is then
a.) Self-Wedged
b.) Auto-Wedged
c.) Master-Wedged
d.) Hoisted on his own peterad
e.) a silly bugger that blew himself up



--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 20 2007,16:54   

Quote (J-Dog @ Dec. 20 2007,12:36)
Quote (Kristine @ Dec. 20 2007,10:48)
He is unintentionally using the Wedge on himself, and thus preventing his (apparently otherwise healthy) religious faith and ethics to guide him in his quest.

Excellent comment Kristine!

To clarify what you said, would you say that Dembski is then
a.) Self-Wedged
b.) Auto-Wedged
c.) Master-Wedged
d.) Hoisted on his own peterad
e.) a silly bugger that blew himself up


A for Albert.

*Nudges Lou*

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

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Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 20 2007,17:31   

Quote (Kristine @ Dec. 20 2007,17:54)
Quote (J-Dog @ Dec. 20 2007,12:36)
 
Quote (Kristine @ Dec. 20 2007,10:48)
He is unintentionally using the Wedge on himself, and thus preventing his (apparently otherwise healthy) religious faith and ethics to guide him in his quest.

Excellent comment Kristine!

To clarify what you said, would you say that Dembski is then
a.) Self-Wedged
b.) Auto-Wedged
c.) Master-Wedged
d.) Hoisted on his own peterad
e.) a silly bugger that blew himself up


A for Albert.

*Nudges Lou*

:)  That's Pope Albert.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 20 2007,19:38   

Quote (J-Dog @ Dec. 19 2007,14:32)
So ends the sordid tale.



That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

several of those guys are jerks and I get a little delight in the fact that they're all going to be around for decades to watch their brilliant, revolutionary idea not make the faintest scratch on real scientific research.

Real science, based on evolution, chugs along filling in details at the rate of hundreds or thousands of papers a month. It did so ten years ago, it does so now, it will do so in ten years, and ten years after that.

ID of course goes nowhere. It was a stupid failure ten years ago, it's a stupid failure today, it will be a stupid failure in ten years, and ten years after that, and we'll be there to laugh and rub their faces in it.



"Hey, remember the Intelligent Design journal, PCID?"
"No."
"Neither does science."
"HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA"

   
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