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Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4502
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 01 2010,12:24   

Doing a bit of ego-surfing, I found I was a topic of discussion at the Sean Hannity forum site. An IDC apologist there seemed to be claiming that I didn't have anything to say about the content of Stephen C. Meyer's 2004(b) paper. So I signed up and entered the following reply there:

Quote

Jack Scrapper wrote:

Quote

I note that Elsberry's main compaint seems to be what he says the Discovery Institute propaganda machine did, and Meyer's connection with it. (underlining mine)

Quote

Again, I don’t have any particular problem with this, because while Meyer 2004b is in a peer-reviewed venue, none of the other instances are peer-reviewed in my estimation.

However, Stephen C. Meyer should think that there is a problem with this pattern of repeated publication of substantial parts of prior work, since Meyer 2004b, Meyer 2004a, and Meyer et al. 2003 are all claimed to count as peer-reviewed publications by the Discovery Institute propaganda machine.
http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2004...-and-deja.html

My response to that would be to refer you to the fact that this conflict is a religious, political, and ideological war and that in war both sides misbehave and moreover both sides will always claim the moral high ground regardless of what they do, and moreover both sides will constantly search for anything they can find that they think will weaken the other sides' moral standing, and then they will paint them as dishonest and immoral adversaries. This has been going on for 6000 + years of human warfare, both in hot war and in cold war (ie political, religious, and ideological war).
That was my main complaint in that particular post. It is inaccurate to claim or imply that my participation is limited to meta-discussion in treating the failure of "intelligent design" creationism advocates to be consistent in their moral stances. Whether one agrees with the analysis or not, it is a fact that I co-authored the first public critique of Meyer (2004b); see it online at http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/08/meyers-hopeless-1.html. There's rather more discussion there of the failings of the content of the essay than there is of meta-discussion topics. I have done more than my fair share of noting problems in the content of "intelligent design" creationism (IDC) advocacy; see my contributions in "Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism" and "Why Intelligent Design Fails", plus the papers "The there advantages of theft over toil: the design inference and arguing from ignorance" (http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/theftovertoil/theftovertoil.html, published in Biology and Philosophy in 2001) and "Information theory, evolutionary computation, and Dembski's 'Complex Specified Information'" (http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/eandsdembski.pdf, edited version published in Synthese in 2009). If you like online video, then you can check out my participation in a 2001 debate: http://www.counterbalance.org/perspevo/index-frame.html. I think that I am perfectly justified in also taking note of the copious instances where the IDC advocates have behaved in less than completely honorable ways.

If anyone finds an -->everybody does the same stuff; it is impossible to decide between them<-- style argument plausible, please go read the parable, "The Duck", available online at http://drboli.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/the-duck/


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

    
raguel



Posts: 107
Joined: Feb. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 02 2010,11:21   

Your concern troll is concerned.  :p

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4502
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2010,06:53   

OK, let's take up that concern...

=====

   
Quote (Ignotus;66262621]Wesley @

More people on the opposing side of this little "debate" might take you seriously if you didn't constantly post in internet discussions like the following...
[URL=http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=14;t=6300)
http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....;t=6300[/URL]

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....;t=5141


We seem to be getting away from the point I made to start with, which is that I have been addressing the content of IDC advocates' claims as well as how they conduct themselves. There is no complementarity here; you wish to discuss how I conduct myself without regard to the content of what I have said.

There's a few different ways to approach the "take you seriously" crack. First, it seems not to be true in person. Since early 1997, I've been on stage in debates and presentations with various IDC advocates, including Bill Dembski, Paul Nelson, William Lane Craig, and Ray Bohlin, and never had the impression that they weren't taking me very seriously indeed. Second, I have no need for validation from "people on the opposing side"; I am content to look back on my collaboration with folks like Stephen Harvey and Eric Rothschild of Pepper Hamilton LLP, who made good use of my advice and assistance during the 2004-2005 Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District case. The side I collaborated with won. (Interestingly, I had discussed such court cases in the abstract with Casey Luskin, who is now a spokesperson for the Discovery Institute, over lunch back in 2004 before the Dover case got going, and we parted with me projecting that ID would fail such a court challenge, and Casey projecting that it would pass through handily.) Please continue to think of me as non-serious; I appreciate underestimation from "people of the opposing side". Third, what hope do I as a relatively recently minted Ph.D. have of being taken seriously by "people of the opposing side" when I see time and again that those people fail to take seriously -- or outright disparage -- even eminent scientists with extensive publication records, at least in print if not in person?

   
Quote

From everything I have read on the internet (most of it outside of this forum), you seem like a legit scientist.
Excellent. In case you haven't seen it, my dissertation is online: http://repositories.tdl.org/tdl/handle/1969.1/554?show=full . I think Texas A&M University stacks up well compared to various and sundry granting institutions seen (and especially the ones not seen) in the DI's "Dissent from Darwin" list that came into the discussion earlier.

   
Quote

However, posting in discussions that throw out petty insults and repeatedly call people "tard" isn't a good way to make yourself look unbiased and objective.
I don't believe that I've ever called anyone "tard", much less to have done so repeatedly. I'd be happy to retract any existing instance, but please excuse me if I fail to hold my breath waiting for documentation of any such. As for "petty insult", some people do seem to have thin skins; in the absence of particulars to ground the discussion, this is likely a difference in perception that we will have to agree to disagree upon.

If the intent in the quote above was simply to note that I post alongside some rude people, I should note that even if I posted here exclusively, it wouldn't disassociate me from rudeness, viz the "athiests[sic] are retarded" comment upthread here, which even uses the same trope complained about in the other venue. Nor is my goal to "look unbiased and objective". I was last employed in journalism over 25 years ago. I think the common journalistic connotation of "objectivity" is a copout, an irresponsible refusal to reach a conclusion even when there is an overwhelming and obvious record of evidence on a topic. Evidence is a powerful source of bias in science; we tend to discard things that have been shown to be false rather than to perpetually pretend that any conjecture is just as good as any other. The post-modernist stance that any conjecture is eternally in the running as somebody somewhere's "truth", no matter what evidence might exist on the topic, is common in the modern anti-evolution movement.

   
Quote

Why are there so many vocal scientists cough* PZ Meyers cough* that resort to this sort of petty internet mud slinging?
I think it is not so much "resort to" as it is "participate in". IDC advocates and their cheerleaders are not always models of rhetorical decorum. (I think "rarely" comes closer to the mark.) Maybe those "vocal scientists" are a bit put out over having to perennially spend personal or professional time defending the teaching of science in the public schools. That would certainly be true for PZ Myers, who has been active in countering a number of flare-ups in Minnesota. Maybe they are somewhat miffed over being called something akin to Nazis, socialists, communists, fascists, or as minions of Satan. Maybe they take a bit of umbrage over implications that they are incompetent in their own fields, somehow overlooking things that are supposedly obvious to people without training or knowledge of that field. Maybe they are a bit irked over being called defenders of the status quo or conspirators to preserve ideas past their prime. Any and all of these should compete with the notion that they must just be bad people.

   
Quote

At times it seems like many of the vocal ID critics have a sort of unhealthy obsession.
Anybody who gets to be good at something has something of an obsession. Unhealthy? I know just how pervasively and frequently religious anti-evolution attacks on science education occur. As Goldwater said, "Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." I don't think I'll take my cues on how much criticism I engage in from "people of the opposing side", and I wouldn't recommend anybody else do so, either.

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

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4502
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2010,07:07   

Another comment I entered over at the Hannity forum:

---------

Jack Scrapper wrote:

Quote
I have no problem with you arguing that [someone] is wrong, unscientific, and making false statements as long as you do not say he is intentionally making false statements.
There is a generic problem with that. If someone claims to be an expert whose opinion should be given credence because of that expertise, there is more to the equation than what you say above. Anybody can make a mistake, even an expert. But an expert can't be an expert and continue to get stuff wrong consistently, especially when the errors always go in favor of their argument. Either they aren't really an expert, in which case they are intentionally misrepresenting their status, or they are an expert, and are intentionally misrepresenting the content. We are left with some uncertainty about which form of intentional misrepresentation is in play, but not that the person in question is engaging in such.


  • Myself, I mostly leave it at "this person is telling falsehoods". That gets away from the whole intentionality thing but still makes the point that the person is an unreliable source of information, whether by intention or not.


    ===

  • OK, there is a last resort that might serve as an excuse for a self-identified expert who nonetheless tendentiously gets things wrong. There is the research result about "Unskilled and Unaware of it", where people in the bottom quartile of ability in a topic often rank themselves as above average, because they don't even know enough to accurately rate their own ignorance. One could argue that such people would escape the intentionality trap thereby, but it would be by stipulating that they were, in fact, so completely incompetent and far from expertise that they couldn't even recognize that for themselves. If anyone wishes to make that kind of excuse for professional IDC advocates, please feel free to do so.

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

  •     
    Reciprocating Bill



    Posts: 4243
    Joined: Oct. 2006

    (Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2010,07:49   

    Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Jan. 09 2010,07:53)
    More people on the opposing side of this little "debate" might take you seriously if you didn't constantly post in internet discussions like the following...
    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....;t=6300

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....;t=5141


    Heh heh. One of those links points to to the BlogCzar thread. If there is more concentrated documentation of self-inflicted ridicule (namely, the entire content of UD) in the universe than that, I'd like to see it.

    One hopes many of the Hannity forum's readers follow it.

    [Edit for clarity]

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    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

      
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: May 06 2010,21:32   

    Comment on Swank Antievolution

    An MD plugs ID; I respond.

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

        
    Dr.GH



    Posts: 1956
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: May 07 2010,06:43   

    Quote
    If someone claims to be an expert whose opinion should be given credence because of that expertise, there is more to the equation than what you say above. Anybody can make a mistake, even an expert. But an expert can't be an expert and continue to get stuff wrong consistently, especially when the errors always go in favor of their argument. Either they aren't really an expert, in which case they are intentionally misrepresenting their status, or they are an expert, and are intentionally misrepresenting the content. We are left with some uncertainty about which form of intentional misrepresentation is in play, but not that the person in question is engaging in such.


    An excellent assessment.

    Edited by Dr.GH on May 07 2010,04:44

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    "Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

    L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

       
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 09 2011,22:57   

    Hey, how do you like my new brown shirt?

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

        
    Louis



    Posts: 6436
    Joined: Jan. 2006

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 10 2011,07:40   

    Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 10 2011,04:57)
    Hey, how do you like my new brown shirt?

    It goes with your eyes.

    Say what you like about the Nazi/Gestapo/Stalin etc but those dudes had great uniforms.*

    Louis

    *They didn't, I'm just looking for comedic positives. For example, the UD/IDCists always remind me of this.

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    Bye.

      
    Schroedinger's Dog



    Posts: 1691
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    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 10 2011,07:52   

    SS uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss. There is still some debate, but the theory is HB made them black and greatly unconfortable on purpose. The SS in summer smelled like dead donkeys because of all the sweat...

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    "Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

    "I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

    "The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

       
    midwifetoad



    Posts: 3565
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    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 10 2011,16:02   

    http://forums.hannity.com/showthr....1742861

    Link doesn't work.

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    ”let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

    Pat Robertson

      
    Dr.GH



    Posts: 1956
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 11 2011,11:11   

    I was going to poke the WND lunatics, but could not get the Facebook login to work. It cannot be that difficult? What obvious thing have I missed?

    --------------
    "Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

    L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

       
    Amadan



    Posts: 1255
    Joined: Jan. 2007

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2011,06:32   

    Try drooling on your keyboard.

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    "People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
    JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

       
    Dr.GH



    Posts: 1956
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2011,12:36   

    Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 12 2011,04:32)
    Try drooling on your keyboard.

    I spilt some beer in it, and that seemed to work. But, I couldn't get it to spark this morning.

       
    Henry J



    Posts: 4075
    Joined: Mar. 2005

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2011,13:39   

    Quote (Dr.GH @ Sep. 12 2011,11:36)
    Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 12 2011,04:32)
    Try drooling on your keyboard.

    I spilt some beer in it, and that seemed to work. But, I couldn't get it to spark this morning.

    Were you using the computer's build-in cup holder for your beer mug, or what? :p

      
    Dr.GH



    Posts: 1956
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2011,17:31   

    Quote (Henry J @ Sep. 12 2011,11:39)
    Quote (Dr.GH @ Sep. 12 2011,11:36)
    Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 12 2011,04:32)
    Try drooling on your keyboard.

    I spilt some beer in it, and that seemed to work. But, I couldn't get it to spark this morning.

    Were you using the computer's build-in cup holder for your beer mug, or what? :p

    Naw, I was just washing the jam off of the keys.

       
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Dec. 21 2011,19:58   

    Over at Martin Cothran's blog, he's going on again about Judge Jones and claimed contradictions concerning falsifiability.

    After asking whether Martin was using falsifiability as Popper defined it, he basically punted, saying that what Judge Jones said had to be related to Popper by inference.

    This was my response to that:

    Quote

    Martin, earlier you wrote:

    """
    Jones argues that Intelligent Design does not meet this criterion because it is not falsifiable. He then turns right around and argues that it is false. If it's not false, then it is falsifiable, and if it is not falsifiable, then it cannot be false. But he just goes on hoping that no one will notice the blatant contradiction in his argument.
    """

    If you are going to ding Jones for relying on Popper, something even you stipulate has to be inferred, then the statement above is simply wrong. A claim that is a "restricted existential statement" can be demonstrated to be false, even though modus tollens won't figure in how that is done. In other words, a claim can fail to be classed as falsifiable vis Popper, but still be demonstrably false.

    On the other hand, it looks to me to be equivocation if you are using the "general" connotation of simply being testable in some way. Jones refers to particular claims made by IDC advocates as being shown to be false, but your forceful statement quoted above relies upon there being no such distinction between "intelligent design" as such and instances of claims made in furtherance of "intelligent design".

    Is there a particular reason that you've chosen to infer things about Judge Jones' decision that put it in a maximally unfavorable light, when you do acknowledge that the inference thus made is not secure?


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

        
    Kristine



    Posts: 3044
    Joined: Sep. 2006

    (Permalink) Posted: Dec. 21 2011,20:45   

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, all they're doing is emphasizing ID's failures. Not very helpful to their "cause."

    --------------
    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

      
    Lou FCD



    Posts: 5378
    Joined: Jan. 2006

    (Permalink) Posted: Dec. 22 2011,08:38   

    Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 21 2011,20:58)
    Over at Martin Cothran's blog, he's going on again about Judge Jones and claimed contradictions concerning falsifiability.

    After asking whether Martin was using falsifiability as Popper defined it, he basically punted, saying that what Judge Jones said had to be related to Popper by inference.

    This was my response to that:

    Quote

    Martin, earlier you wrote:

    """
    Jones argues that Intelligent Design does not meet this criterion because it is not falsifiable. He then turns right around and argues that it is false. If it's not false, then it is falsifiable, and if it is not falsifiable, then it cannot be false. But he just goes on hoping that no one will notice the blatant contradiction in his argument.
    """

    If you are going to ding Jones for relying on Popper, something even you stipulate has to be inferred, then the statement above is simply wrong. A claim that is a "restricted existential statement" can be demonstrated to be false, even though modus tollens won't figure in how that is done. In other words, a claim can fail to be classed as falsifiable vis Popper, but still be demonstrably false.

    On the other hand, it looks to me to be equivocation if you are using the "general" connotation of simply being testable in some way. Jones refers to particular claims made by IDC advocates as being shown to be false, but your forceful statement quoted above relies upon there being no such distinction between "intelligent design" as such and instances of claims made in furtherance of "intelligent design".

    Is there a particular reason that you've chosen to infer things about Judge Jones' decision that put it in a maximally unfavorable light, when you do acknowledge that the inference thus made is not secure?

    As I understand the situation (and IANAL), Jones didn't argue anything. He decided. The attorneys argued, and the creationists lost the argument.

    They can continue pout and stomp and throw their little tantrums, but they got caught lying for Jesus. Again. Now they're just pissed off that no one bought their lies. Creationists are like little kids who get busted in a lie and then go spend hours with their friends justifying why it was unfair that they got in trouble for lying. It's always everyone else's fault.

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    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

       
    fnxtr



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    (Permalink) Posted: Dec. 22 2011,15:32   

    Quote (Dr.GH @ Sep. 12 2011,15:31)
    Quote (Henry J @ Sep. 12 2011,11:39)
     
    Quote (Dr.GH @ Sep. 12 2011,11:36)
     
    Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 12 2011,04:32)
    Try drooling on your keyboard.

    I spilt some beer in it, and that seemed to work. But, I couldn't get it to spark this morning.

    Were you using the computer's build-in cup holder for your beer mug, or what? :p

    Naw, I was just washing the jam off of the keys.

    "Jam"? Is that what you call it?

    Pearl jam, maybe... (they said it's named after jam made by their aunt pearl. Yeah, right.)

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    "But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

      
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,22:48   

    OK, another right-wing blogger holds forth, this time on how Genie Scott is a "science nazi".

    So I responded:

     
    Quote

    You're not the first to say so, by any means. So who did you pick up this bad habit from?

    Wesley R. Elsberry


    RKBentley eventually approved the comment and added a reply:
     
    Quote

    Wesley,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I'm sure I'm not the first person who has used the term "Science Nazi." Ben Stein's movie "Expelled" was premised on this very idea. He may have even used the term in there - I can't recall. Of course, there is also the link you cited.

    I'm not sure what "bad habit" you're referring to. Is it simply calling someone a "Nazi"? Well, I believe I supported my claim in my post. Many sites I've visited merely call people names without making any argument of substance. Being a conservative, I'm well aware of the usual tactic of liberals to call any conservative a "Nazi." It's used so often that it's lost some of its "shock value." Perhaps I shouldn't use the term but if the shoe fits...

    Thanks again for visiting. Please come back. Also, tell your friends about the crazy, right-wing, Christian nut who has a blog.

    God bless!!
    RKBentley


    I wrote a response (currently awaiting approval):
     
    Quote

    Your question about what the bad habit is could be answered by reading the essay at the link. But if that doesn't suit, let me sum up: the use of "nazi" and "soviet" as epithets by the religious antievolution community turn reality on its head. The essay looks at previous examples, but Ben Stein's and your own usage are simply further unwarranted instances.

    As for usual tactics, the two incompatible flavors of totalitarianism noted above are nonetheless a commonplace piece of invidious comparison rhetoric aimed at pro-science advocates. See the link for copious documentation of antievolution advocates having their ugly bits of hateful speech.

    You think that you've supported your use of the term, but what I see mostly in your "rant" is ignorance. For instance, you make the claim that Genie Scott loathes the idea that anyone anywhere believes in creation. Anyone paying attention to recent events would have noticed that Genie Scott and NCSE have come under fire from a variety of the "new atheist" writers for being too accommodating of religious belief. This doesn't go well with your claim, does it? Speaking of propaganda, let's examine your final paragraph, you know, the one whose message is entirely based on transparent equivocation on your part. Genie obviously was saying that NCSE did not have expertise in the role of "policy think tank", yet you insist that her statement was about NCSE's familiarity with the issues in climate science. Are you really that desperate to claim to have a wholly illusory point?

    Wesley R. Elsberry


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

        
    fusilier



    Posts: 212
    Joined: Feb. 2003

    (Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2012,07:25   

    Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Jan. 24 2012,23:48)
    OK, another right-wing blogger holds forth, this time on how Genie Scott is a "science nazi".

    So I responded:
    {snip}

    Just FYI, RKB's expertise is in banking, but I've never seen him commenting on Wall Street financial shenanigans, or the mortgage crisis, or....  It's all YEC all the time.

    OTOH, he isn't like FL.   I'd be glad to have lunch with RKB.

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    fusilier
    James 2:24

      
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
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    (Permalink) Posted: April 27 2012,07:35   

    I just followed up  a dismissal of the Elsberry and Shallit critique of Dembski's CSI at "Catholic Answers Forum".

    [quote]

    Quote (buffalo;9225040]rossum and I had a few go arounds on how design can be proven.  It may be that because we actually live inside the design frame of reference that we cannot differentiate design.  In other words @ we would have to be outside this frame of reference to actually see design.  Being in the frame itself everything looks designed to us, but that could be that the entire frame is designed therefore everything in it.[/QUOTE)


    Jeff and I considered the sufficiency of Dembski's "complex specified information" to distinguish a recent event from a ancient one, and found it lacking. There is some overlap with your "design frame" concept.

    Quote
    There are some issues which arise from such a defense, however. Dembski stipulates that algorithms can serve as conduits for prior specified complexity and add a certain amount of information as well [19, p. 160]. Dembski has not produced a demonstration that anything beyond, say, cosmological constant tuning might be needed as the sole role for a distantly removed intelligent designer, perhaps one who did part of what Dembski describes: "The fine-tuning of the universe and irreducibly complex biochemical systems are instances of specified complexity, and signal information inputted into the universe by God at its creation." [17, p. 233] Even if we accept this nearly Deist construction of events minus the gratuitous inclusion of irreducibly complex systems, natural processes could then have provided the means by which such an initial influx of specified complexity at the beginning of the universe becomes the basis of the whole of biological diversity. Dembski's framework is, as we have pointed out here, incapable of distinguishing between such a scenario and one requiring more recent
    interventions by an intelligent agent. In this regard, specified complexity becomes something like the cosmic microwave background radiation: it can be detected almost anywhere one looks.


    Essay on Dembski's "complex specified information" (2003)

    In my opinion, airy dismissal is not an effective mode of argument (nor the genetic fallacy, nor still a genetic fallacy based on an incorrect premise). That's why the essay runs to 54 pages. I don't tend to take one or two sentences as comprising a serious response.

    Wesley R. Elsberry



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

        
    SLP



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    (Permalink) Posted: April 27 2012,10:27   

    I was banned at Hannity's forum a few years ago - after only one post.  My offense?  I had the disrespectful audacity to ask if Hannity had ever served in the military.

      
    SLP



    Posts: 136
    Joined: Dec. 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: April 27 2012,10:33   

    Quote (fusilier @ Jan. 25 2012,07:25)
    Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Jan. 24 2012,23:48)
    OK, another right-wing blogger holds forth, this time on how Genie Scott is a "science nazi".

    So I responded:
    {snip}

    Just FYI, RKB's expertise is in banking, but I've never seen him commenting on Wall Street financial shenanigans, or the mortgage crisis, or....  It's all YEC all the time.

    OTOH, he isn't like FL.   I'd be glad to have lunch with RKB.

    Back when Bentley used to post on CARM, he was asked about the 'dishonesty' in his own profession (in an exchange on the usual 'evos are all liars' thing).  He allowed that not all bankers were honest, because people are sinners, but somehow he didn't get the double standard he was employing.

    I've not visited his blog in some time, but I was amused by hos bio - he gets all humble about how he is not a scientist and all this, then goes on to declare that he sees the things that all those evo scientists can't and so.

    Me?  I'd have coffee with him if only to throw it in his face.

      
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Oct. 09 2013,22:50   

    I found Lee Bowman dissing the Elsberry and Shallit essay on Dembski's CSI. His rant has been out there a while, but I worked up a response to it.

    Lee Bowman:

    Quote

    Lee Bowman • 3 years ago ?
    flippertie wrote:
    " And there you go to the heart of the problem – there are no published primary sources for ID research."

    Have you checked out Bill's link to a partial list of published ID literature? It is far from complete, and the list is growing. Most of it doesn't push ID politically, but rather presents data refuting natural causation, which implies design.

    " You have Behe's pop-science books (eg. Darwin's black box) pushing his idea of Irreducible Complexity. This has been refuted as a proof of a designer - you can't prove a negative - so you can't prove that any particular item *could never* have evolved. all you can say is "as yet we don't know how X could have evolved'.

    Actually, you can prove a negative, by eliminating all other alternatives. That catch phrase applies more to a situation where just because you haven't seen an orbiting teapot doesn't prove that one doesn't exist. In the case of irreducible complexity for example, if it can be shown empirically or statistically that something could not self-evolve, what then are the alternatives? Intelligent input is one. Can you name others?

    Now the source of that intelligent could be God, gods, surrogates to a higher authority (angelics, spirit entities), a device that can think and produce coherent and organized outcomes, a savant idiot orbiting Pluto that takes time off occasionally to tweak a genome.

    " Then you have Dembski's 'specified complexity' - which tries to claim that it is possible to examine complex patterns and detect whether they were designed or not. This has also been comprehensively discredited: A study by Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit states that "Dembski's work is riddled with inconsistencies, equivocation, flawed use of mathematics, poor scholarship, and misrepresentation of others' results" "

    I have never run into mathematicians who don't argue vociferously over how abstract concepts are properly interpreted mathematically. Further, have you followed court cases where attorneys equivocate non-stop by introducing convoluted logic to prove a point? "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit!" or "we found an outdated reagent bottle in the police lab, so their test results are in question ... " But hey, it worked. OJ walked.

    There are of course, worse examples, but you get the point. In the Dover trial, the plaintiffs tried to get Behe to admit astrology as valid science, which he never did. Piles of books and papers that Behe had to crane his neck to look around, done solely for theatrics (no citations given to prove immunity evolved, just theatrics). The judge nodded, and the audience chuckled, a perfect parody of a for Comedy Central bit.

    In the paper, they use snowflakes, crystals, fairy-rings and other natural phenomenon as examples of 'Complex Specified Information' (CSI), which they are not, by Dembski's definition. Complex sure; specified by an intelligence, hardly. Their paper uses many examples of convoluted logic, too numerous to go into here.

    Put simply, Dembski states that evolutionary processes cannot produce CSI (vertebrate/invertebrate eye). Elsberry and shallit use bogus examples of complexity in nature that are produced by a natural (but in most cases designed) process to show that CSI need not be 'specified' (designer input). How many snowflakes would it take to equate to an eye, flight wings, the circulatory system, the digestive system, or best of all, the embryo process?

    "A search of google scholar for Shallit or Dembski the search results show that Shallit is very well published in peer-reviewed math journals, as opposed to Dembski. Dembski responded to the study with a series of attacks on Shallit ... "

    Well his "attacks on Shallit" pale in comparison with Shallit's attacks on Dembski, but DO show malicious intent with regard to his motives to discredit ID advocacy. Motive first; reason and logic tossed. But ah, he uses reason and logic to prove his assertions, you and others say. Have you read the paper? There is very little valid reasoning within. Logical soundingarguments yes, but debate using logical algorithms can produce twisted and circular logic.

    Dembski blogged about their tussles here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.../.....co.....com...

    " ... but has not published any refutation of them."

    Why bother? Dembski gives his reason here:

    [Shallit's] standard tactic is to demand detailed supportive evidence for whatever you say; then, no matter how much effort you go to in this regard, he says you have failed to prove your case and need “real” supportive evidence, and hence wastes your time and exhausts you and amasses a database of your best evidence to boot. It is a common tactic that I have encountered many times before in my debates.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.../.....co.....com...

    Please read the comments as well. Scordova wrote in part:

    Regrettably, I had once actually sympathized with Elsberry and Shallit’s assessment of your work. Their papers have the power to confuse the undecided middle into thinking they have refuted your case. Their papers, until one scrutinizes them carefully, are sufficient to make one seriously doubt the strength of your claims. It was only through the process of carefully reviewing their 54 page paper that I realized, they weren’t even using your definitions, but rather replacing them with convenient re-definitions. But the thing was Bill, the packaging and the offering of equation after equation gave the veneer of a substantive take down. I can only hope more of the undecided middle will see through the veneer as I did …. "
    As I stated, most of what they wrote is fluff, with over one third of it mathematical gibberish. Casey Luskin summarizes it well.
    http://www.discovery.org/a..........


    Me:

    Quote

    I had cause to be looking for instances where my name and Lee Bowman's appeared together, and that brought me here. Late to the party, sure, but I'll leave a contribution.

    Lee is awfully quick to dismiss things that he apparently does not understand.

    Let's start with the end. Lee recommends Casey Luskin as a source. Casey, though, just doesn't get it. Casey is known for having gotten time completely backwards when it came to the publication of the Elsberry and Shallit essay in Synthese. (See http://austringer.net/wp....r....rvoyant ) The fact that Casey and Lee don't understand the math does not impugn the content of the math. Beyond the "unstuck in time" thing for Casey, I listed two further points that showed Casey simply could not have read the essay for comprehension in his "response". (It was in writing and came after the essay, therefore it was a response?) When a supposed critic can't even handle basic philosophical points we made, it seems like a long-shot to surmise that "summarizes it well" is a possible *truthful* description. It is an instance of a Casey Luskin hit piece: an uncareful, uncharitable mishmash of presuppositions, confusions, and miscomprehensions.

    Next up: Salvador Cordova. Here's a fellow who bragged about how he was willing to "take a grenade" for Dembski by being the guy to engage Dembski's critics. Sal doesn't appear to have met an argument he didn't like, no matter how silly. Try out this link: http://antievolution.org/aebb-ar....78.html . Sal variously tries to critique an example without taking account the difference between deterministic and non-deterministic algorithms, attempts to declare that extended discussion of the math Dembski lays out as establishing "complex specified information" somehow misses the central definition of CSI, and attempts to make points concerning "omega" within Dembski's work without understanding that it is completely determined by the context of a particular example.

    William Dembski has chosen to use dismissal rather than engage the arguments. This is standard operating procedure for Dembski. His assertion that our essay is "out of date" is pretty laughable given that Dembski has never retracted the claims we addressed. The same applies to others who merely repeat the "out of date" mantra without understanding the issues.

    And that brings us back to Lee Bowman. Lee makes a completely unsubstantiated claim that the arguments in our essay do not withstand scrutiny. Given that Lee puts no effort into making his point, it doesn't seem necessary to do more than note that Lee is mistaken.

    Lee points to section 9.3 of our essay as being based on "bogus examples". Lee fails to note the argument we are making concerns Dembski's inconsistency in his choice of how to analyze examples. Because Dembski chooses to use either a "uniform probability" or a "causal-history" approach to examples depending on whether he wishes to accept an example as having CSI or not, it is an open question as to what CSI signifies if approached in a consistent manner. Section 9.3 points out that various natural phenomena, if measured on the same "scale" Dembski chooses to apply to examples where he knows agents were involved, would also meet the other requirements of Dembski's CSI. This point eludes Lee and various other would-be critics of our essay. And, contrary to Lee's assertion, none of the six phenomena we list are due to "designed" processes.

    Lee accuses us of using "convoluted logic". Lee would be better off making the simple and humble admission that *he* failed to understand it and leave it at that.


    Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Oct. 10 2013,06:42

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

        
    Dr.GH



    Posts: 1956
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Oct. 10 2013,12:25   

    Well done, Wes.

       
    tsig



    Posts: 322
    Joined: Aug. 2006

    (Permalink) Posted: Nov. 26 2013,10:18   

    Quote (raguel @ Jan. 02 2010,11:21)
    Your concern troll is concerned.  :p

    ????

      
    Wesley R. Elsberry



    Posts: 4502
    Joined: May 2002

    (Permalink) Posted: Nov. 26 2013,13:45   

    Quote (tsig @ Nov. 26 2013,10:18)
    Quote (raguel @ Jan. 02 2010,11:21)
    Your concern troll is concerned.  :p

    ????

    That was in reference to "Jack Scrapper" having responded to my original post on the Hannity Forums site.

    Copying my responses here has saved them from going to the great bit-bucket in the sky, as the Hannity Forum seems to have developed complete amnesia concerning that thread.

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

        
      28 replies since Jan. 01 2010,12:24 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

        


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