Sunday, September 17, 2006

Intelligent Design, My Part in it's Downfall

Ed Brayton has a post on Pandas Thumb linking to an article on his own blog, referring to an earlier post which itself links to a comment on this thread at Pandas Thumb. (Phew!)

So, allow me to relive my fifteen minutes of fame, with my tiny contribution to the undermining of Michael Behe's credibility on the "peer review, but much more rigorous" testimony at the Dover trial. Thanks Ed Brayton for bringing it up.


Chris Hyland said...

Well done Alan!

I liked this comment:
"At present I’m involved in product development for an immunodiagnostics company, and we are discussing how to approach to Avian flu, and how we can design a test that takes into account the constantly evolving nature of the RNA viruses. Do the intelligent designers want return us to a time when mankind attributed disease to evil spirits, and allow us no tools to understand the ravages of epidemic diseases, and how to design therapies and diagnostics against them?"

On UD someone (I think it was Sal) told me that we should approach the problem of antibiotic resistance like a biological warfare attack as opposed to assuming that the pathogens are 'evolving'. Which is very similar to what Stephen Colbert said to Ken Miller.

Alan Fox said...

Thanks Chris


Do you mean this interview?

Alan Fox said...

At the end of his post Ed says:

Let me also say this: I think the book should have been published. I agree with Dr. Shapiro that while I think much of his argumentation is less than honest and his conclusions absurd, it's very well written and is probably the best example of the argument from design that has been published since Paley's day.* It's a provocative and well written book on a hot subject. From the perspective of a book publisher, that certainly means the book should be published. The point of all of this is not to say that his book should have been rejected by the publishers. It is only to say that the claim that it underwent more rigorous peer review than a journal article is patently absurd and contrary to the facts. (*my emphasis)

Skip Evans and I both contacted Professor Shapiro who kindly participated in a thread. Unfortunately things deteriorated from hereon. I was, to say the least, disappointed with the comments that could not see the difference between appreciating good writing while deprecating the content. (Especially Registered User)

So I'm very pleased to see Ed Brayton saying this about Shapiro and DBB.

Zachriel said...

DaveScot: "Alan Fox is no longer with us. His email to Rieseberg said his finding were being used to dispute evolution."

DaveScot has banned Alan Fox for having the temerity to contact the evolutionary biologist, Loren Rieseberg, whom DaveScot cited. Apparently, Alan used the term "evolution" to refer to the Theory of Evolution. DaveScot claims he doesn't dispute "evolution", so his conflation allows him to accuse Alan of dishonesty. In fact, Alan provided a link to the discussion for Rieseberg, and Rieseberg responded directly to the point about Natural Selection and parallel evolution.

Then DaveScot wrote a very misleading and embarrassing note to Rieseberg claiming he doesn't dispute "evolution", but only the very limited role of chance. What he means, of course, is an Intelligent Designer is involved, something he neglects to mention.

Very sad. It speaks volumes about DaveScot and Uncommon Descent.

Carlos said...

I'm also sorry to see that Alan Fox was banned -- sorry, but not surprised.

secondclass said...

DaveScot is hardly in a position to throw stones. After linking to an article that supposedly supports his crackpot views of the 2nd Law, and after we pointed out that the article actually debunks his claims, he's now recycling the same scam on UD. How short does he think our memories are?

Alan Fox said...

Thanks for the kind words. Actually, I'm pretty relaxed. When Dave feels so threatened he has to ban non-scientists like me (and Dave Springer, of course, who does seem to have a sensitive spot about his lack of scientific education) who only post of-the-cuff comments (usually unresearched)then I am sure ID is a concept on its way out.

Zachriel: it does take some swallowing, that Dave should accuse me of dishonesty, but that he had to engineer such an excuse just illustrates the weakness of ID as any form of supportable idea.

Carlos: I guess you have been chosen as the current tame evolutionist. You do a much better job than I ever did of gently opening their empty box of ideas.

Secondclass: Your post that you decided not to publish in the end seems quite appropriate for me, without the erudition, naturally!

FreezBee said...


Very interesting.

I particularly noticed this:

I’m absolutely appalled by Behe’s arguments, which are simply a rehash of ideas that Darwin considered and rejected. There is not a shred of evidence to support intelligent design, and a vast body of evidence that argues against it. It is not a scientific hypothesis, it simply the philosophical wanderings of an uniformed (or disingenuous) mind.

Quite true. Behe's 'irreducible complexity' is most likely lifted from The Origin of Species, ch. 6: Difficulties on Theory, where Darwin has this little piece:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.

Apparently Behe wanted to have a try at it as well.

Zachriel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zachriel said...

Alan Fox: "it does take some swallowing, that Dave should accuse me of dishonesty"

Don't worry. I get accused of dishonesty every day on the blogosphere. I assure you, I may be wrong, but I do comment honestly.

I'm not currently banned on Uncommon Descent, but there is no point wasting time if my comments are going to become Desaparecidos. People with eyes can see the truth.

Carlos said...

Carlos: I guess you have been chosen as the current tame evolutionist. You do a much better job than I ever did of gently opening their empty box of ideas.

Thank you. I think I'm less threatening to them because I'm a theist, of a rather odd sort. If I can get them to see how "theism" (taken broadly) and "naturalism" (taken broadly) are consistent, it'll take some wind out of their sails.

Of course, those who insist that theism requires narrow-minded and moralizing bigotry will not be convinced -- nor will those who insist that naturalism requires a Stoic resignation a godless and empty universe.

But I'm not interested in preaching to either extreme. I'm preaching to the middle who feel some pressure to move to one extreme or the other.

secondclass said...

Regarding your recent appeal to move a discussion from UD to here, you might want to point out that Dembski never intended UD to be a fair or neutral forum. Some quotes from Dembski make this clear:

If you post a comment that I don’t think is productive, I’ll probably not just eliminate your comment but you from this blog
Finally, there is one cardinal rule at this blog, namely, I make up the rules as I go along
Think of this blog as my playground.

Zachriel said...

secondclass: "Regarding your recent appeal to move a discussion from UD to here, you might want to point out that Dembski never intended UD to be a fair or neutral forum. Some quotes from Dembski make this clear..."

That's true, but Mark Frank's point remains valid that the arbitrariness of the policy makes the forum virtually unusable for extended discussion. Of note, they often post triumphant declarations that 'Darwinists' have no answer to their challenges, when in fact, the 'Darwinists' have been largely silenced.

And this is the best that the Intelligent Design movement has to offer.

onething said...

Testing. This blog is hard to figure out.

Carlos, did I offend you over there?

Alan Fox said...

What problem did you have posting, avocationist?

If you are using a link I posted at UD in one of my comments, it may be that it takes you to a thread page rather than the homepage. Just click on my name on any of my comments at UD and you should get the homepage.

secondclass said...

Zachriel, yes, that was my poorly expressed point. Moving a discussion from UD to here is always justified, as Dembski himself admits that his blog isn't intended to be a fair forum.

Zachriel said...

secondclass: "as Dembski himself admits ..."

Got it. As in, "Uncommon Descent's *admittedly* arbitrary moderation policy ..."

Carlos said...


Not at all! I've just been very busy with teaching this week, and I'm trying to figure out the best way of responding to your provocative line of questioning. I'll definitely respond this weekend, but probably not today.

onething said...

Good! No hurry. When I wrote my post over there, I was very tired and had almost no time-but I wanted to write something. 1st paragraph garbled. If it sounded strident, that was unintended.

Alan, I guess I got it figured out but this blog has an odd setup.

Alan Fox said...

Alan, I guess I got it figured out but this blog has an odd setup.

Blame Blogger, not me. I hesitate to mess with the template now, as there is a fair amount of material here which it would be a shame to lose.