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  Topic: Official Uncommonly Dense Discussion Thread< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 30 2006,17:57   

That Dembski bio on Wikipedia makes for some very interesting reading for people trying to psychoanalyze Dembski.  For example:    
Dembski was born in Chicago, Illinois. He was brought up as a Catholic, the only child of a college biology professor (who accepted and taught evolution). He was educated at Portsmouth Abbey School, at the time an all-male Catholic preparatory school in Rhode Island, but left the school a year early before graduating to enter the University of Chicago, which admitted exceptional students who had not graduated high school (Kurt Wise, who heads Dembski's former theology and science center at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was in the same 1977 incoming class at the University of Chicago as Dembski). In 1988, as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he delivered Portsmouth Abbey's Dom Luke Child's lecture for that year. After the lecture, the school awarded him his high school diploma, ten years after he would have graduated.

He struggled socially at the college level and dropped out at the age of seventeen to work in his mother's art dealership. He says that he did not initially accept the precepts of Christianity, but during this "difficult period" he turned to the Bible in an effort to understand the world around him.  [Shades of Phillip Johnson, who found Jesus in the middle of a difficult divorce. djm]  Later, after becoming an Evangelical Christian, he read creationist literature. He did not accept the doctrines of literal creationists, though their criticisms of evolutionary theory did strike a chord in him. He says of Young Earth creationism:

"Nonetheless, it was their literature that first got me thinking about how improbable it is to generate biological complexity and how this problem might be approached scientifically. A.E. Wilder-Smith was particularly important to me in this regard. Making rigorous his intuitive ideas about information has been the impetus for much of my research." [8]

He returned to school at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he studied psychology (in which he received a B.A. in 1981) and statistics (receiving an M.S. in 1983). He was awarded an S.M. in mathematics in 1985, and a Ph.D., also in mathematics, in 1988, both from the University of Chicago, after which he held a postdoctoral fellowship in mathematics at the National Science Foundation from 1988 until 1991, and another in the history and philosophy of science at Northwestern University from 1992–1993. He was awarded an M.A. in philosophy in 1993, and a Ph.D. in the same subject in 1996, both from UIC, and an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary, also in 1996.

So here's the Catholic son of a professor of biology and an artsy business woman who's so little loved that his parents send him to an (all-male) Eastern prep school.  He's smart, so he does well at the prep school and actually enters college a year early.  Unfortunately, he's way too immature for the University of Chicago and bombs out at age 17 and winds up working in his mother's flower shop.  This is circa 1977.

During this period of feeling totally inadequate, he turns to the Bible and ends up rejecting his father's religion and becoming an Evangelical Protestant.

He returns to college, this time at the University of Illinois in Chicago and gets a B.A. in 1981 and and M.S. in 1983.  He then gets an S.M. (?what is an S.M. - I assume it's not a degree in Sado Masochism?) in 1985 and a Ph.D. in 1988.  He's a post doc from 1988 to 1991 and from 1991 to 1993.  He gets an M.S. in philosophy in 1993 and another Ph.D. in 1996 and finally falls right into the intellectual gutter and gets an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996.

What this all means is that Dembski was a professional student from 1977 to at least 1996!  Nineteen years in college!  Has anybody every known anybody who wasted nineteen years in college who ever amounted to anything?

How does Dembski do when he's finally forced to leave the Halls of Ivy and try to make his way in the real world?  Not too well:    
During the three years after completing graduate school in 1996 Dembski was unable to secure a university position and so until 1999 he received what he calls "a standard academic salary" of $40,000 a year as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Discovery Institute's, Center for Science and Culture (CSC). "I was one of the early beneficiaries of Discovery largess," says Dembski.

So after nineteen years of higher education, he was essentially unemployable at any non-crank company or institute.  Which is about par for the course for professional students.

Ah, but in 1999, after 22 years of academic unemployment, Dembski strikes paydirt:    
In 1999, Dembski was invited by Robert Sloan, President of Baylor University, to establish the Michael Polanyi Center at the university. Named after the Hungarian physical chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi (1891–1976), Dembski described it as "the first intelligent design think tank at a research university".

How did he meet Sloan, the first person in history to offer him a real job?

Dembski had known Sloan for about three years, having taught Sloan's daughter at a Christian study summer camp not far from Waco, Texas.

So after two decades of education, Dembski was tutoring young fundamentalists at a summer camp!  Again, about what you'd expect from a professional student tossed out into the cruel world.

And who was Sloan, the man who hired him?    
Sloan was the first Baptist minister to serve as Baylor's president in over 30 years

Of course, both he and, eventually, Sloan, completely bombed out at Baylor and both were eventually fired.  Dembski, in fact, was fired by Sloan and he and the Polanyi Institute were instrumental in getting Sloan fired.

And today?  Why, today he's the Czar of the dippiest blog in blogdom.  Again, about what you'd expect from a professional student.

People who are psychoanalyzing Dembski should study the Wikipedia article closely for clues to his rather warped psyche.

  29999 replies since Jan. 16 2006,11:43 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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