Tuesday, September 01, 2015

On spelling names correctly ... and irony

David Klinghoffer was recently aroused by a comment from me that was published on the Forbes website [Meet The Canadian Scientist Who Loves Battling American Creationists]. I said ...
Most scientists and science lovers cannot win a debate with the best intelligent design creationists ... That's because their knowledge of science is nowhere near as good as they think it is. One of the other reasons for debating creationists on my blog is to educate the non-creationists. I spend almost as much time criticizing fellow scientists as I do attacking creationists.
Naturally, David Klinghoffer thinks I was referring to him [University of Toronto Biochemist Admits Most ID Critics Can't Win a Debate with Us].

For the record, I don't think that David Klinghoffer is one of the best Intelligent Design Creationists. However, I stand by that statement as long as you understand that it refers to genuine debates.

Later on in his post, Klinghoffer criticizes me for spelling Ann Gauger's name incorrectly in one of the times I referred to her in a recent post. I corrected that typo. (I accidentally wrote "Guager.")

Klinghoffer refers to me as Lawrence Moran but my first name is spelled Laurence. (He can call me "Larry" if it's too difficult to spell Laurence correctly.) I note that he also spells my first name incorrectly in Debating Darwin's Doubt. (David Klinghoffer is the editor of that book.)

Klinghoffer adds ...
Leave aside the gratuitous reference to creationism, which Moran knows perfectly well that we don't advocate [see photo above] if he reads us as regularly as he seems to do [I do read them accurately, that's the problem], and if words have any meaning [the word "creationist" has meaning and Klinghoffer is a creationist]. Give him credit, though, for accuracy on this point: Most ID critics could not stand up in an encounter with an ID advocate like Meyer. You're right! I agree. They couldn't. Could you, Dr. Moran? That's something I'd love to see.
Well, David, you just might get your chance.

As you know, I posted a number of articles critical of Stephen Meyer's book Darwin's Doubt. Now that I have a copy of the book you edited, Debating Darwin's Doubt, I'm looking forward to all the rebuttals of my arguments that you included in that book. Here are my posts, in case you forgot.
Oops, my quick scan of the book failed to find any mention of any of those blog posts! Damn. I guess Stephen Meyer and his creationist buddies are waiting for Debating Darwin's Doubt: Part Deux in order to address my criticisms. I'm a little miffed though, because the book tries to rebut other blog posts and it even addresses a different blog post of mine.


  1. Why not set up a real life, face to face debate?

    1. The way debates are done at the Talk Rational forum are better than face to face verbal debates. Written, kept on-topic. Face to face is far too easy to abuse by a speaker who speaks well but doesn't actually address the subjects. The written form also makes it easier to address each topic, and the opponent's objections, with facts.

      This does give the science side an advantage, because that's the side the facts are on.

    2. I'm not familiar with their format. I'm sure Professor Moran doesn't fear the things you've mentioned. I've heard him speak he'd be fine.

    3. Is that a real question?

      Yes. So how about a real answer, if it's not too much trouble.

    4. Professor Moran devotes plenty of time addressing the Intelligent Design guys, so obviously he's interested. Why not have a formal debate? There's far less opportunity to dodge questions and avoid issues. Why do you think this isn't advantageous?

    5. In my view, a formal debate in writing, sure. A formal verbal debate is a waste of time, because there won't be time to check references and claims. In a verbal debate you can technically just stand there and lie about what all sorts of studies say without anyone present being able to check it until later when they go home. And come on, how many people are going to do that? Most won't, they'll go home and just believe whatever "their guy" said.

    6. Debate format, with timed statements and responses, is a very bad one for anyone defending science. It takes much less time to stir up doubt than it does to clear things up. The same would be true of written exchanges if there were word limits.

    7. Really, for example, it took me about the same number of words in Darwin's Doubt to debunk just a few chapters of it.

    8. There should be some minimal requirements of fair play in a debate, like limiting the numbers of topics that can be raised simultaneously (that is, disallowing the Gish gallop). It always takes more time and effort to expose nonsense than to express it.

    9. Professor Moran devotes plenty of time addressing the Intelligent Design guys, so obviously he's interested. Why not have a formal debate? There's far less opportunity to dodge questions and avoid issues. Why do you think this isn't advantageous?

      On the contrary, the face-to-face debate format rewards and encourages the dodging of questions and avoidance of issues.

    10. I remember watching a debate on Intelligent Design between Francisco Ayala and William Lane Craig. Craig, IMHO, "won" the debate, largely because the question was framed in such a way that it favoured him, but also because he relied heavily on Behe's "Edge of Evolution", and it was apparent Ayala had never read it. I mean, why would he have? So he had no response to the arguments Craig made from the book.

      That's an example of why the debate format is useless as anything other than entertainment. If someone throws a bunch of scientific papers at you that you have never read, how are you supposed to know what they actually contain, or even whether your opponent is misrepresenting them (which, with a creationist, is pretty much a certainty)?

    11. Note also that Ayala moved from Spain to the US when he was 26, and English is not his mother tongue, even if he speaks it fluently. During a face-to-face debate, such things matter and may give one participant an unfair advantage simply by making him feel more comfortable. I wonder how smug Craig would have been if he'd had to debate Ayala in Spanish.

    12. Ayala's english is not great, definitely not, but most importantly, Craig's an apologist, a professional charlatan. Ayala is a scientist who used to be a catholic priest and may be a christian to this day, I don't know. That's not to say that Ayala's not qualified to debate anyone, he's an effin legend for us spaniards (those who've heard of him at least) but I'm not sure he knew what he was dealing with

    13. Piotr said:

      There should be some minimal requirements of fair play in a debate, like limiting the numbers of topics that can be raised simultaneously (that is, disallowing the Gish gallop). It always takes more time and effort to expose nonsense than to express it.

      I have heard that professional debate judges will ding you if you engaging in "flooding" (which is to say, the Gish Gallop). If you do it they will judge that you lost the debate, even though your opponent can't answer all your points in their allotted time.

      However creationists know that they are not having a professional debate judge score them, but instead an audience that sees that the evolutionist has never answered points C, D, E, and F.

    14. IDcreationists always refuse a debate in writing. They know that a written debate gives the scientist an opportunity to look up their quote mines and prove they're out of context, and to look up their scientific references and prove the creationist side misrepresented the observation, methods or conclusions of the scientific papers they cite.

      Creationists prefer a face to face debate where they can throw out quote mines and fake quotes attributed to famous authorities, and the scientist can't *both* talk *and* look up the quote mines at the same time. If you agree to a face to face debate, you must insist on having a fast internet connection and you must have fast Google fu to google all their bullshit on the fly.

      Even if you prepare ahead of time by studying your opponent's favorite arguments (and alas, few scientists do that, as most are overconfident), creationists still make up bullshit on the fly, and you can't prepare for that.

      Duane Gish was infamous for this, thus the term "Gish gallop". In one debate his opponent cited the Karroo formation in Africa, saying that it had too many billions of fossils to have all been buried during Noah's Flood. Gish replied that "they say" there are 100 trillion herring in the sea. This number isn't physically possible, and was pulled right out of his ass. But how do you prepare for bullshit like that, made up on the fly?

      Knowing a great deal about science is *not

    15. In addition, face to face verbal debates heavily favor the Gish Gallop in which creationists spew out a dozen lies which would take far more time to refute then is allowed in the debate format. Harder to do that in a written debate.

    16. A good example of a debate in writing with an ID "theorist" is William Dembski vs. Richard Wein at Talk Origins, Not a Free Lunch But a Box of Chocolates. It's about math, so Dembski loses very badly. Towards the end he seems to be crying into his keyboard.

    17. Knowing a lot about science is *not* the same as doing well in a face to face debate. Remember, in the 19th century, some creationists were flat earthers, because Bible, and they would actually publicly debate scientists who said the Earth was round-- and the flat earthers often won.

      To be a good face to face debater, you must prepare and know your opponents' favorite arguments-- AND you must *instantly* identify your opponent's strongest argument ("strongest" as it would appear to a non-scientist audience, which is very different from the actual best argument in the eyes of scientists), and then *focus on that strongest argument with laser-like intensity*, start by refuting it in two or fewer sentences that are highly memorable, then explain why your opponent's claim depends on a factually false assertion, or is irrelevant to his thesis, or both.

      If you say "Wah I can't refute this complicated point in two sentences, it's too complicated", you should not debate anyone. You can still contribute by supporting and educating skilled debaters in your field of expertise. But don't debate.

      There are many scientists who are knowledgable but would not do well in face to face debates. I don't think Prof. Moran would do well in a face to face debate.

      Who here would do well? I'd say Piotr, Nick Natzke, and myself. Rumraket's skills have also developed beautifully. Maybe Ogre. Ken Miller, of course, is a total Jedi.

    18. Joe G: Evolutionists don't want to debate as they have nothing

      Bullshit. I've said many times I would debate Michael Behe at the University of Pennsylvania. I'd add William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, and WL Craig to that list.

      So you, Joe G, run off to your Discovery Institute god-beings and tell them Diogenes is waiting to eat their lunch.

      By contrast, IDcreationists do not even permit comments at their own website, ENV, because they're afraid of us. And Uncommon Descent bans almost all evolutionists including Piotr and myself because we beat them.

      IDcreationists always refuse debates *in writing* because debates *in writing* favor the honest party, and that's not them.

      Ken Miller debated IDcreatiobists multiple times and always killed them. And Sean Carroll, cosmologist, beat WL Craig in a debate on the Kalam argument.

      I had mini-debates with Luskin a couple times at ENV until I was winning, so they insulted me and shut down comments.

    19. Joe G: Evolutionists wouldn't do well in a debate because they don't have anything but lies, misrepresentations and bald declarations.

      Prove it, right now. Run off to the Discovery Institute website and tell them Diogenes would like to be "badly beaten" in a face to face debate with Michael Behe, William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, or WL Craig.

      Run along, little doggie and tell your masters I'm waiting to eat their $%&*king lunch.

      Right now. Not later. Go.

    20. Gee, Joe Gallien clearly lied about how evolutuonists don't want to debate. He got caught lying, so now he's throwing a tantrum.

      Joe, call me whatever you like, but I order you to run off to ENV and tell your masters I'll debate their Ph.D.s... of whom you are not one. Run off now, little doggie and deliver my message.

    21. Security Clearance, your first lie was that evolutionists don't want to debate. Now your new lie is that I would lose if I debated you. Your lie #1 and lie #2 contradict each other. Pathetic.

      Run off to ENV and tell your masters I'll debate their Ph.D.s. You're not a Ph.D. Bible school diploma mills don't count.

      What are you afraid of? What harm would it do?

      Run along now, scaredy cat. Off to ENV you ho. Bock bock.

    22. Diogenes - what is it with you? As one who is on the fence with the evolution/ID position your comments do nothing but support what IDer's say about evolutionists. Are you an example of what represents a current evolutionary biologist?

      Calm down and chill the agro!

    23. Rogue Dingo,

      I think you may have come in after Joe G's posts were deleted. Joe G is a troll. Interleaved with Diogenes's comments above were abusive posts from Joe G where he made declarations he couldn't possible back up, and generally avoided accountability for his own comments. Comments that would support what rational scientists sometimes say about ID/creationists. So you are only seeing half the conversation at this point.

      In any case, if you are on the fence, why? There is a variety of scientific expertise among the frequent posters here, so if you have some questions, just ask.

  2. It's nearly always a mistake to criticize people's typos, as you never know when you'll make one yourself. (I'm criticizing Klinghoffer, not you.)

  3. I don't have a copy of the new book.

    Does he mention Smilodon's Retreat at all? I'm curious if he apologizes for all the blatant quotemining he does.

    1. Joe G is an unemployed fraud who was fired from his job for threattening people over the internet. Joe Gallien has claimed 1. to be a scientific researcher, 2. That he has no published papers because he works for the private sector, 3. That he had no patents because his research is secret, 4. That he can't tell us what research he does until we get a "Security Clearance" (hence his nickname) 5. That he was injured in the Iraq War trying to outrun an RPG, etc. etc. International Man of Mystery and war hero, our Joe Gallien!

      By contrast, OgreMKV went through Meyer's shit book line by line, looking up all of Meyer's quotes and proving that all of them were taken out of context to reverse their meaning. To this, Meyer had no response. Because it's true.

      Who you gonna trust?

    2. Joe G presents one of his most intellectual arguments yet: Diogenes is a child molester and a shit eater. I obliterated Kevin's "reviews"- it was easy. (no reference or link given)

      This argument is actually superior to Joe G's favorite argument: telling his opponents he knows where they live, and threatening to murder them. Joe Gallien got fired for making threats from his work computer, genius that he is.

      IDcreationists won't debate us, but death threats, they're fond of.

    3. Joe G, why are you still here? I told you to run off to the DI's website and tell them I would debate their PhD.s. Strangely, you stick around here contradicting yourself.

      Your first lie was that evolutionists WON'T, will not, debate. Your next lie was that I would debate, but would lose to you. Your new lie is that evolutionists want to debate, but CAN'T, cannot. Which contradicts lie #1, that they will not.

      Your lies contradict your other lies.

      As you are only useful as a rather stupid passenger pigeon, run off to the DI now and tell them I will debate their Ph.D.s.

    4. Your original lie as that scientists won't debate. That was exposed, so now you try to replace that lie with a different claim-- that I won't debate YOU. As far as that goes it's true, but it's not your original lie, which is still debunked.

      You, Joe, won't debate me and I won't debate you, so we're even. I won't debate you because what would I gain when I beat Joe "Security Clearance" Gallien, not Ph.D.? Joe's best argument against evolution is still "Diogenes is a child molester and shit eater."

      Evolutionists want to debate facts, not these creationists threats and rude name-calling. Why do creationists act like that? If they could present facts...

      Oh wait.

  4. The little red circle is a stroke of genius.

    Communicating with graphic images.

  5. I would pay to see a debate between Larry and Barry Arrogant. It would be very short.

    Barry: "You disagree with me? Then it is self evident that you are a liar, evil and insane. I win. "

    I would pay double to see a debate between Larry and Kairos (don't call me Gordon Mullings) Focus.

    1. I've just had a brief look at UD. Barry Arrington is calling some of his visitors insane and subjecting them to one of his obsessive Proctustean tests.

      Dear readers, have you ever wondered why there is a nearly one-to-one correlation between those who would attempt to argue with the proposition that 2+2=4 is a self-evident truth and those who would say that it is OK to kill little boys and girls, chop their bodies into pieces and sell the pieces like so much meat?

      The same spirit animates both assertions.

      I wonder if Barry regards it as self-evident that 345 to the power of 7 equals 581746347858515625. If not, beware of Barry's razor-sharp cleaver

    2. Barry Arrington is an allegedly Jewish man who palls around with Holocaust deniers.

    3. Nobody can win a debate against you if you are allowed to declare your own victory. But in a real debate there is are independent judges who decide whose arguments are stronger and more persuasive. In a real debate a one-trick pony with very little brain who just keeps repeating, "Your position can't even account for... [insert any observable fact]", would be laughed off the podium.

    4. An immature child who insists that wavelength = frequency couldn't win at rock-paper-scissors even if he knew in advance what his opposition would have.

      In another comment thread, Joe claimed that his DNA was much >99% identical to his closest relative. Unless his closest relative is an identical twin, there is only one way that this could be possible; serious inbreeding. Come to think about it, this might explain a lot about our friend Joey.

  6. Thoughtful , educated, authors who are creationists ARE NOT science lovers? i agree its hard to love a methodology but science is used as a sum of all learnt things. So ouch!
    Another debating point evolutionists would lose.
    Debates are won, sometimes , by the side thats right and makes a better case.
    Debates to me are just like in a court room. Evidence verses evidence.
    The origin debates don't settle things because evolutionists don't provide biological scientific evidence and so persuade critics of evolution from the educated or the common. creationists don't press home evolutionists don't do this.
    so everything floats around the misty boundaries where everyone can get tripped up.
    A scientific theory should be something one can sink ones teeth into in destroying or defending. its not your everyday theory.
    somebody is wrong and everybody is wrong about methodology in these things.

    1. Byers says: Thoughtful , educated, authors who are creationists ARE NOT science lovers... i agree

      Quote mined for truth.

  7. It's funny how much creationists actually want a "debate", like in a "court of law", but they yell and scream about how unfair the Dover trial was.