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+--Forum: Intelligent Design
+---Topic: Dembski and Finessing Criticism started by Wesley R. Elsberry

Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 26 2004,06:27

What does it mean to finesse a criticism? The sort of scenario I am referring to is when William Dembski alters his argument but fails to note the criticism that prompted the change entirely, as if it never existed.  The particularly insidious thing about finessing criticism is that it takes a lot of background knowledge concerning Dembski's prior arguments, present arguments, and criticism of those arguments to even detect that it has happened. The casual reader of Dembski's works will have no clue that he or she has been deprived of information concerning the argument in question.

This thread is for collecting instances of places where Dembski has engaged in finessing criticisms. Test your knowledge of what Dembski and his critics have said, and contribute entries here. I'm especially interested in examples from Dembski's latest book, "The Design Revolution". I'll lead off with one of mine shortly for an example.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 26 2004,07:18

On June 17th, 2001, I presented < a talk > critiquing various aspects of William Dembski's arguments. One of the issues I raised there was the < erroneous usage Dembski made of the concept of "falsifiability" as promulgated by Sir Karl Popper > (see slides 23-25 of my talk).

One can readily note that chapter 39 of Dembski's "The Design Revolution" is pretty much a mildly worked-over version of his earlier essay, < Is Intelligent Design Testable? >. The earlier essay shows Dembski's misapprehension of "falsifiability" that I critiqued at Haverford.

Chapter 39 of TDR, though, replaces "falsifiability" with "refutability" in the section that previously discussed "falsifiability". There is no mention of my criticism present here, nor that of any other critic who brought up the same point. To the reader of TDR, Dembski's change in argumentation is completely invisible.

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