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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

IDiots Make a Falsifiable Prediction

The Intelligent Design Creationists, otherwise known as IDiots, are getting desperate. They have been relentlessly promoting Stephen Meyer's upcoming book Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design but so far they have pretty much failed to trick evolutionary biologists into trashing the book before it's published.1 That must be a major disappointment to them.

The baiting continues with an article by David Klinghoffer on the Evolution News & Views (sic) site: What Darwin's Enforcers Will Say About Darwin's Doubt: A Prediction. Here's what he predicts ....
Among possible lines of attack against Stephen Meyer's forthcoming book, Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, I foresee some critics trying to argue that it's not fair game for Dr. Meyer to invite the general reading public to consider what's going on in peer-reviewed technical literature pertaining to evolution.

After all, biologists should have the opportunity to air their views in a semi-private professional setting without "creationists" barging in and telling the unwashed masses that many scientists have already given up on the Darwinian paradigm and are seeking post-Darwinian alternatives. Even though it's true, still it's wrong to publicize the fact, thereby leading the common folk astray and confirming their prejudice in favor of seeing life and the universe as reflecting some purpose.
This time I will rise to the bait if only for the purpose of preserving this prediction so we can revisit it in the future.

I'd also like to note, for the record, that the IDiots have published a number of books in the past and I don't recall anyone making the argument that Klinghoffer predicts. Can anyone out there point me to an article where scientists criticized the IDiots for pulicizing controversy within the evolutionary biology literature? It would be quite hypocritical for most bloggers to do so since criticizing the scientific literature is what we do.

Is it just my imagination or have evolutionary biologists also published books where they "expose" the controversies within evolution. If scientists do it routinely then why in the world would they criticize an IDiot for doing it? That doesn't make any sense, does it? (Oops, I inadvertently made the false assumption that IDiots are supposed to be rational.)

Finally, Udo Schüklenk alerted me to this creationist article because he is mentioned. Klinghoffer refers to a discussion about the ethics of infanticide and he thinks that his creationist2 buddy Wesley Smith is being attacked for exposing a debate within the bioethics community. You should read the papers he links to along with Udo Schüklenk's paper [In defence of academic freedom: bioethics journals under siege] if you want to catch up on that discussion. As usual, the IDiots get it all wrong. Are you surprised?

1. That's mostly because we don't care. We are not anticipating anything we haven't heard many times before although, I suppose, we could be surprised.

2. Smith is a lawyer and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. I don't know what kind of creationist he is.


  1. I predict that this prediction will be rendered unfalsifiable by one (or perhaps even both) of two methods:

    1. IDiots will conveniently forget they made it, or will even deny making it, or will re-interpret it to mean something else.

    2. IDiots will re-interpret any criticisms of the book as being examples of what they claim here.

    Remember, they're not bound by your silly rules of logic or reason. They don't got to show you no stinking badges.

    1. That was too easy. Why don't you tell me whether the Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup?

      Wait ... that's also too easy, isn't it? :-)

    2. The Leafs are going all the way. Have some faith Larry. You have so much more of it in the less, less, less likely events.

    3. I'm theorizing that has something to do with hockey, which is apparently a sport played by Canadians.

    4. Dominic and the fallacy of the posterior probability. One could write an entire book about it.

  2. So let me see if I've got this straight:

    It would be wrong for "Darwinists" to criticize Meyer's book before they have read the whole thing cover to cover, because that would show them to be close-minded.

    However, it's perfectly alright to criticize those same "Darwinists" for criticisms they have not yet made (and, in fact, never have made) because you just know they're going to make them.

    Uh huh. Makes sense.

  3. Do it not seem odd that the publishers of this book are rebutting hypothetical criticisms of this book before the book has been released and reviewed ?

    It's as if the actual content of the book is irrelevant to them and it's all about presenting themselves as victims in an ongoing conspiracy.

    Does this happen in any other field ?

  4. I foresee some critics trying to argue that it's not fair game for Dr. Meyer to invite the general reading public to consider what's going on in peer-reviewed technical literature pertaining to evolution.

    Erm... what do they think science popularization is? Has anyone attacked Jonathan Weiner, David Quammen, Richard Dawkins, Carl Zimmer, Helena Cronin, Pat Shipman, etc. on this basis?

    It's such a bizarre prediction to make that I have a prediction of my own. Knowing the cdesign proponentsists as we do and assuming that Klinghoffer is familiar with the book's content in advance, I predict that Darwin's Doubt will contain a breathtaking amount of quote mining of the primary literature, and that's the charge they're trying to immunize the book against in advance of the criticisms of biologists.

  5. It seems to me Klingnutters prediction really boils down to the statements "Darwinian paradigm" and "post-Darwinian alternatives". What does he even mean?

    One the one hand I'm sure Klinghoffer is seeking to instill the false picture that evolutionary theory is being abandoned.

    On the other hand when pressed to give examples, all Klinghoffer will be able to refer to is some evolutionary mechanism being supplanted (and here "Darwinism" to Klinghoffer is just an umbrella term for that which is being replaced) with another.

    I'm thinking here of, for example, that New Scientist article "Darwin was wrong", about the tree of life model being wrong at the root of the tree of life, given the propensity for HGT and the like between single-celled organisms. If this is an example of what Klinghoffer thinks constitutes "abandoning the Darwinian paradigm", then he's the one guilty of leading the "unwashed masses" and "common folk" astray, because the alternatives being included are still natural evolutionary mechanisms, not teleological or purposeful "design"-related alternatives(as he seems wanting to imply).

    The greatest threat to ID creationisms understanding of evolution, is the actual modern theory of evolution. They absolutely refuse to deal with it. Time and again they go back to some example of new information adding to or replacing the old, and hail it as some kind of "another step" towards the imminent demise of evolution.

    1. Ironic, isn't it? We've been telling creationists about modern evolutionary theory for the past thirty years but they refused to listen. Now that they've "discovered" these changes for themselves it's a "revolution" that's going to overthrow "Darwinism."

      Turns out that the only people who have to change their worldview are the creationists who haven't been keeping up with 20th century science.

  6. Replies
    1. Now, now. We can't go making predictions before we actually see the book. Then it will suck and it won't be a prediction. :-)


  7. Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. I'm so sick of all this talk about the forthcoming book....which makes me think these DIers are not quite to fools we make them out to be. How many of you -after all this back and forth discussion, have your curiosites peaked and are now just going to say 'what the hell' when the book comes out and actually BUY it? This was the whole point of their marketing effort! I for one will read part or all of it entirely in the B&N coffee shop!

  8. Klinghitler: many scientists have already given up on the Darwinian paradigm and are seeking post-Darwinian alternatives. Even though it's true

    Riiight. Klinghitler has dug up the old nut "Darwinism is already dead" which is a story about 110 years old. In 1904 the German Eberhard Dennert wrote Am Sterbelager Des Darwinismus (At the Deathbed of Darwinism) and ever since creationists have been saying Darwinism is ALREADY dead. George M. Price wrote The Phantom of Organic Evolution in 1924, saying evolution was just a ghost already and there was nothing left for him to do but read its eulogy. Henry Morris wrote The Twilight of Evolution in 1963 while Kennedy was alive and before the Beatles invaded America. In the 1980's D. James "Dead" Kennedy was repeatedly announcing that evolution had crumbled and collapsed in the 1980's, and he kept repeating that FOR DECADES until he died.

    All these authors and many, many others-- too many to list-- said evolution was dead in their own time and ALL OF THEM ARE DEAD. Meanwhile, the number of research articles published with "evolution" as a keyword increases about 8% per year.

    Again I will link to my blog post listing statements by creationists going back several decades all saying "more and more" scientists and "a growing number" of scientists have abandoned evolution.

    Sure, there are "more and more" creationists all the time... in the graveyard.

  9. Darwin's Enforcers would look great on a t-shirt.

    1. Some years ago, I think during the Kansas Kreationist Kourt in 2005, the Disco Tute was all atwitter about the influence of the "Darwinian Pressure Group" and, thus, was born Delta Pi Gamma for which I appointed myself President for Life and went about soliciting funds to purchase a fraternity company vehicle, preferably a red BMW M5. Needless to say we are still awaiting that first farthing.

      I don't know if my BN will carry Meyer's Hopeless Monster Mark 2, but if it does I'll peruse it in the stacks but certainly not buy it. My BN had one copy of Signature and it was a pretty easy read if one skipped all the irrelevant bits, 99% of the book, and only focused on the few pages where he failed to make his point; dreadful, dreadful book.

      Now, to end on a positive note, I have a copy of Hou Xian-Guang's book "The Cambrian Fossils of the Chengjiang, China" and it's fascinating. Page after page of photographs of representative fossils, line drawings and descriptions with a thorough preface describing the era.

      I'm sure Meyer in his comprehensive review of Cambrian fossils will reference Xian-Guang's work. Aw, shit, I ended on a sour note. What is wrong with me?

  10. We all know what will be in Meyer's book because we all read his shitty 2004 article in the PBSW that was retracted. It will be the same thing all over again.

    1. Meyer will falsely state that all phyla make their first appearance in an instant/eyeblink in hthe Cambrian. Never mind that half of all phyla never appear in the fossil record, and that at least three phyla or superphyla appear in the pre-Cambrian, and two to three appear after the Cambrian.

    2. Meyer will falsely state that all phyla appear with NO PRECURSORS. Expect to hear many IDiots blathering idiotically about "NO PRECURSORS".

    3. Meyer will either ignore or have a bullshit counter-argument to the post-1990's work on the interrelationships between phyla and super-phyla, e.g. Graham Budd's work on relationships between lobopods, relating anamolocarids, arthropods and tardigrades, work on Halkieriids etc.

    4. The rape of information theory. Meyer will use the jargon of information theory incorrectly and ignorantly, describing an ooga booga mystic quantity which does NOT have the properties of Shannon's mutual information, or Kolmogorov information, or any other well-defined mathematical property. Meyer will idiotically call this ooga booga "Specified Complexity" citing Dembski.

    5. Meyer will falsely state again and again and again and again that the only known sources of "ooga booga information" are "Intelligent Agents", by which he means spooks and ghosts and genocidal Middle Eastern war deities.

    6. Meyer will ignore the fact that it's been proven that natural processes increase Dembski's CSI, as shown by numerous mathematicians and experts including Joe Felsenstein, Jeff Shallit, Elsberry, Eric Tellgren, Richard Wien, and me. The disproofs of Dembski's "Law of Conservation of Information" will be ignored.

    7. Meyer will falsely state again and again and again and again that the fossils in the Cambrian show enormous increases in mystic ooga booga information, backing that up with NO computations, NO equations, NO measurements of any fossil, falsely insinuating that IDiots are capable of doing math more complex than tornado probabilities.

    8. Meyer will falsely state again and again and again and again that "Darwinism" cannot produce the great increases in mystic ooga booga information which he did not compute in step 7. Meyer will back that up with NO computations, NO equations, NO real properties of any evolutionary algorithm or process.

    9. Meyer will dismiss the many evolutionary algorithms and genetic algorithms [GA] which solve incredibly difficult problems and produce sophisticated, complex engineering, by ATTACKING THE PROGRAMMERS, especially Schneider who programmed ev, and whom the IDiots, especially Dembski, Marks and Sternberg, hate with the purple passion of the impotent.

    10. Meyer will idiotically say that all GAs and evolutionary algorithms have "targets", despite the simple and obvious fact that the important and useful GA's never have targets, as can be seen just by looking at the code. Expect to hear IDiots once again moronically yammering "Targets, targets, targets" about programs that have no goddamn targets. Look at the fucking code you morons. No fucking targets.

    11. Meyer will accuse the programmers, especially the hated Schneider, of scientific fraud and say they "smuggled" Dembski's mystic ooga booga information into their programs. The last defense of the creationist, faced with disproof of his assertions that even a high schooler could understand, is the accusation that it's scientific fraud.

    1. Geeze, Di, you forgot latching and implicit latching and virtual latching and implied latching and supposed latching and all the other latchings that smuggle information into algorithms, simulations, constipations and ruminations.

      I mean, man, how do you expect to have your pudding if you don't eat your meat!

      And, finally, when will you learn it's FUNCTIONAL Complex Specified Information. Where you been? it's FCSI. It's not CSI, it's EFFING CSI ! You're leaving the EFFING out of the EFFING equation.

      That's it. You're not getting any EFFING pudding!