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Posts: 327
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,02:36   

TARD FIGHT!  Who's got tickets to England?

From the hallowed halls of UD:      
Mary Midgley to debate ID in the UK, October 3rd, Kings College, London
The odd thing is that, thick as she is, even Mary Midgley realizes that ID is creationism.  However, she also hates Richard Dawkins, so I guess that's why Paul Nelson is pimping her.  

Midgley is a longtime lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle upon Tard, where she has been a constant source of embarassment to that University, although not as big an irritant as Dembski has been to poor Baylor.  (For instance, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever been fired for hiring her.)  She hit the absolute peak of her career in 1979 when she published an attack on Richard Dawkin's "Selfish Gene" entitled "Gene-Juggling" which opened with this deathless paragraph:
Genes cannot be selfish or unselfish, any more than atoms can be jealous, elephants abstract or biscuits teleological. This should not need mentioning, but Richard Dawkins’s book The Selfish Gene has succeeded in confusing a number of people about it, including Mr J. L. Mackie.

As it turned out, the person most confused by Dawkins was one Mary Midgley.  After slogging through most of a long paragraph of pure Tard, we find that she believes that      
...he resorts to arguing from speculations about the emotional nature of genes, which he treats as the source and archetype of all emotional nature.

Yes, she actually thought that Dawkins was arguing that genes have emotions!  She thus won the right to moderate Uncommon Descent over twenty years before UD was born, and the non-Tard portion of the philosophical world has spent the last twenty eight years trying not to laugh out loud.

With an intellect like that, it's a natural that the Dawkins hating ID world would latch onto her and not surprising that Nelson would be promoting her, but ID is so far off the rails that even Midgley can see through it and "...suggests that it does not have a place in the Science curriculum but may have a home in the Religious Education." (Ouch!)

Nelson may be attracted to this, however:        
She also discusses the work of prominent advocates of natural selection and suggests that, although natural selection is, in essentials, a scientific research programme, it has accreted metaphysical doctrines through the interpretation of some commentators such as Richard Dawkins and is, therefore, not entirely unproblematic as a candidate for the Science curriculum. Some of the claims of the supporters of versions of natural selection, she holds, might more properly belong in the Religious Education curriculum alongside Creationism and Intelligent Design.
Translation: Dawkins feels that evolution answers one of the Great Questions that Religion claims to answer, namely where did we come from, so to Midgley natural selection is a religious idea!  
...also believes that she is "lucky" to have missed out in having to undertake a PhD. She argues that one of the main flaws in doctoral training is that, while it "shows you how to deal with difficult arguments", it does not "help you to grasp the big questions that provide its context - the background issues out of which the small problems arose"

Link  Well, fair's fair and Dr. Dr. William A. Dempski has certainly proven that a PhD or even multiple PhDs are no guarantee of clear thinking, but I must say that Midgley's grasp of the bigger questions leaves a lot to be desired.

TravelZoo is advertising round trip airfare to London and 6 nights lodging for only $499.  If my passport renewal wasn't stuck in the crapstorm caused by requiring passports to enter Canada and Mexico, I'd be really tempted to witness this debate.

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

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