Tuesday, January 31, 2006
DaveScot is Destroying Dembski's Blog [Updated, not anymore]
It seems that DaveScot is trying his best to alienate everyone who disagrees with him in order to be liked better by Darwinists, whom he doesn't like. DaveScot is essentially the new Commander-in-Chief of Dembski's blog, and he seems to be saying that any argument against common ancestry is now verboten because it won't help him win.
It seems to be centering around Davison's Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. I think Davison's Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis is fascinating, but I think that the ID community did a much better job when it wasn't about a specific view of origins. Multiple hypotheses were part of ID, including Davison's and also including OEC and YEC. If it now becomes about a specific view of origins, I think it is headed back to the dustbin.
Now, DaveScot doesn't represent the ID community. He isn't even a major player. I'm not really worried about the immediate future of ID, as it is currently in the hands of Dembski, Behe, Meyer, and their likes, who are much more open, and much more focused on the intelligent agency aspects. I like Meyer in particular. While some or all of them may agree with common ancestry (and it is definitely compatible with ID), they aren't exclusionary.
Anyway, hopefully Dembski will either take his blog back or take it down, but leaving it in the hands of DaveScot seems to have turned it to the worst.
Interestingly, in the discussion, Davison admitted that a polyphyletic tree was certainly possible and perhaps likely (though he would have fewer roots than a creationist would), while DaveScot was saying that we should go with Davison over and above a polyphyletic tree.
Thank you Bill! That was a particularly dumb and bull-headed thread.
I wrote about it if you're interested.
You are incorrect. What Meyer said is that "The theory does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time, or even common ancestry". You are thinking of ID in terms of a theory of origins, but actually it is a theory of causation (one of the seminal works on ID -- The Design Inference -- only even makes reference to biology in passing). There is no reason why an intelligent agent could not design a common ancestor to diversify. Thus, ID does not, in and of itself, argue against common ancestry. That does not mean that there are no arguments against common ancestry or that people who are ID advocates disagree with common ancestry.
In fact, Meyer himself has said that he himself disagrees with common ancestry.
What you are making is a categorical error -- by viewing ID as a whole theory of origins. ID does not in itself argue against common ancestry, but that does not mean that it neither has implications for it nor that there aren't good arguments against common ancestry.
If you want a fuller view of the way that Meyer thinks about ID, see this interview with him.
ID is not creationism. However, ID is compatible with creationism. This is in the same vein as the age of the earth. ID, since it is not a theory of origins, does not take a stand against old earth. It's not that there aren't some ID'ers who disagree with an old earth, it's just that it is outside the bounds of what is the inquiry of ID.
This kind of speculation/ham-fisted reasoning makes my head reel.
"Using a common ancestor to diversify? By what mechanism? If not birth-lineage, then how is it a common ancestor? "
I'm not sure I understand your question. The "front-loading" hypothesis that is popular with many non-special-creationist ID'ers (note that this set does not include me) is that the original common ancestor contained all of the information needed to diversify into all of the modern forms. It was normal reproduction. This is basically the idea of pre-coded (or partially pre-coded) saltations. Davison's specific hypothesis -- the semi-meiotic theory, states that sexual reproduction is a terminating event in evolutionary history. He uses the massive non-homology of sexual reproduction to show that it was not from a common ancestor, and the conservative nature of sexual reproduction to show that it is this event which terminates any major evolution.
He also calls it a "prescribed evolutionary hypothesis", and claims that phylogeny is basically an earth-wide form of ontogeny. The development of life on earth proceeded according to a plan much the same way that development of individual organisms proceed according to a developmental plan.
"This kind of speculation/ham-fisted reasoning makes my head reel."
Why does teleological speculation make your head reel while non-teleological speculation not? I could understand if you were a "pox-on-both-your-houses" kind of guy who didn't like speculation, but it seems that you only disagree with speculation that goes against the Darwinian orthodoxy. What makes Darwinian speculation better?
Consistency. If god interferes with, or "guides" or "tweaks" evolution, then what you said before makes sense in response:
"Basically you are admitting that ID = teleology, plain and simple."
However, if god front-loaded, then could we deny common ancestry? I'm talking evolution of higher taxa. I'm talking the very thing that Meyer argued about, as a philosopher, in "Meyer's Helpless Monster"...he argued against common ancestry explanations of the cambrian explosion (which, by the way, is more of a long ripping fart). How do we see god's hand in front-loading, except to admit common ancestry worked after some initial event for which there is evidence of an "out of nothing" creation of life? Nanobes and the biochemistry we know drive a stake through the heart of your argument from incredulity. We don't know what happened, maybe we never will, but we have solid lines of reasoning that, by Ockham's razor, exclude a necessity of divine intervention/ miracles.
Why do you people even try to appeal to materialists and naturalists? If you are going to posit natural causes and talk reason, then wonderful. If you are going to talk faith, then just admit it and be honest about it. Every argument is only as strong as its presuppositions. Your own is that the bible is literally true and describes accurately the creation of all life on earth. That is your prerogative, but we both know that anywhere you go from there will be orthogonal to the reasoning of naturalists. Just invoke miracles or just talk science. Don't mishmash.
Be consistent. Either god constantly meddles, and so heredity and homology are not evidence of common ancestry, and in effect, the evidence is totally subjective to interpretation (the unfalsifiable claim of an invisible, omnipotent Hand playing with DNA)...or god designed the first bacteria with all of the information necessary to become us, or god just "poofed" the first bacteria and natural law was sufficient from that point...
That is what I mean by "ham fisted reasoning". There is no inconsistency in claiming that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for common descent.
Yes. It depends on how many times it was front-loaded. In fact, special creationists believe in a limitted form of this front-loading. The ones who typically advocate front-loading, however, are usually completely in favor of at least large-scale ancestry (Davison, Behe, etc.)
"I'm talking the very thing that Meyer argued about, as a philosopher, in "Meyer's Helpless Monster"...he argued against common ancestry explanations of the cambrian explosion"
This is incorrect. It's been a while since I read the paper, but I don't think that Meyer specifically advocated against common ancestry. What his problem was the Darwinian mechanism. He noted that anything that was to generate so much complex, sophisticated, diversity so fast needed an informational component, not that the informational component was necessarily introduced at the time of change. Think of a computer installation program. Specifically, some Linux distributions install themselves from source code. The CD has all the information necessary (well, some dists get it from the Internet, but oh well), but it takes a while to compile. It probably compiles the base system first, then the utilities, then X-Windows, etc. Depending on your system and the amount to compile, this may take a few hours or even a few days or weeks. The information was present in the original source, and it did not form into discrete components by evolution by natural selection, nor did it require the programmer to come in and make modifications at every step. It was part of a planned, specified unfolding.
"which, by the way, is more of a long ripping fart"
Was it? According to standard geological timescales, how many genera have formed in the last 10 million years? Now, compare that to what happened in the cambrian era. And then, compare that to what is allowable via non-directed searches in computer science.
"How do we see god's hand in front-loading, except to admit common ancestry worked after some initial event for which there is evidence of an "out of nothing" creation of life?"
I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here. Please expand on this. I think you are agreeing with the front-loaders, but I could be confused.
"We don't know what happened, maybe we never will, but we have solid lines of reasoning that, by Ockham's razor, exclude a necessity of divine intervention/ miracles."
In ID, the intelligent designer need not be supernatural, and need not use miracles. Ockham's razor gives you nothing even if it did, unless you could _prove_ that an origin-of-life scenario did not require God (Ockham's razor is about removing extraneous variables, and a variable cannot be considered extraneous if you don't even know the equation).
"Why do you people even try to appeal to materialists and naturalists?"
You are correct. If someone is going to assume that there cannot be non-material causes no matter what the evidence, trying to demonstrate evidence of non-material causes is foolhardy.
"Just invoke miracles or just talk science. Don't mishmash."
This is irrational if both have occurred. You are assuming that either everything is a miracle or everything is science, without understanding that if miracles occur, then there is necessarily an interplay. For example, if God performed a miracle and knocked down a building, the wrecked building would still exist for examination would it not? The examination would be science, but it would be incomplete if it did not allow for the causitive force that knocked it down.
"Either god constantly meddles [making evidence to homology subjective] ... or god designed the first bacteria with all of the information necessary to become us"
You miss the point that BOTH OF THESE make the evidence to homology subjective, especially if you do not posit a priori knowledge about which one it is.
In addition, one that you failed to mention, evolution by natural law also makes arguments to homology very subjective.
For instance, take the generation of the genes to break down nylon waste products. These were generated in _days_. What's really interesting, though, is the high homology of this gene in flavobacterium and pseudomonas. So, we have a gene, generated in days, produced independently by multiple species of microbes, that STILL exhibit high homology.
So, even without a designer operating, you STILL have lots of theoretical problems with homology, and using homology for evidence of common ancestry. In this case, there was very high molecular homology, with no common ancestry generating the homology. Produced in only days.
If the structuralists are correct, and there are only certain _possible_ conformations of morphology and molecular design, that likewise destroys homology evidence.
"There is no inconsistency in claiming that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for common descent."
Even taking that evidence at face value (which I don't) you still have not shown that ID is false -- that such varieties of forms in common ancestry could have been produced without the informational components necessary to do so. _This_ (not common ancestry per se) is what ID is talking about. Which is separate from what creationists talk about (which is specifically special creation and specific theological events occurring within recorded history).
I still haven't seen anyone offer any credible evidence that common descent is false. No surprise there as it's tough to find evidence against the plain truth.
Sadly, he now "runs" Dembski's site, yet that quote there is contrary to Dembski's views.
I completely agree that DS has ruined the site. He banned me for talking about religion in a thread labelled "OFF TOPIC" and it was about the Italian court demanding proof that Jesus existed, based on a lawsuit from some loony atheist. I mentioned in that thread that Richard Dawkins claim that religion was the root of all evil and that atheism was pure and good was proven false with the atheistic regimes of the 20th century that killed more than any Christians have in history.
Dave Scot then started in on the spanish inquisition, etc, and he "warned" me to knock off my comments in the manner I was posting. So, HE started comparing body counts, then "warned" me again and claimed I was comparing body counts and it was not allowed! Then, he started to distort the point I was making- the mere fact that Dawkins was proven wrong in his pure and wholesome atheism claim.
Dave Scott then demanded I apololgize, which I did (tho, I had nothing to apologize for...only did so to get back to commenting.)
He banned me right away for commenting on a post on an article that mentioned Darwinists getting clergy to sign letters supporting evolution, but they use the word in such a vague sense they fool masny clergy into thinking God guided evolution is part of what they're supporting, what it's unguided NDE. (http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/665)
There's the thread...I clarified that my point was- they fool the clerhy many times into supporting ideas they don't really understand or agree with...propaganda was my main point.
He claimed I was doing apologetics, preaching, etc. The funniest thing is that DS himself posted the SAME exact point a cpl weeks later here-
He said "“How many of these do you suppose have studied it thoroughly enough to take a leadership stance on the issue?”
The same percentage that didn’t study it enough any time in the past 150 years. The difference is that 10,000 of them didn’t sign onto a program to reconcile Darwinian evolution and the Protestant church any other time in the past 150 years.
Or am I missing something?
So what exactly caused them to sign onto this if not intimidation? Specifically I think they’re afraid of being labeled uneducated throwbacks to a premodern era. Maybe they should send Richard Dawkins a bouquet of flowers and an invitation to be a keynote speaker where he can say to them things like this
It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).
Comment by DaveScot — January 22, 2006 @ 10:10 am"
I KNOW that Bill knew about the post, because I sent him a long e mail about Dave's tactics and his post which he deleted the very day it was posted. Bill replied saying that he didn't have the time to moderate and left it all to DS, but if he were in charge, he'd allow me to comment, and that I've done nothing wrong.
I've talked to the other mods as well- one of them told me that Dembski was upset over the post he assured me that something was going to be done about DS. A second mod talked about how DS complained to him that he was allowing too many comments thru thtat Dave didn't agree with, so he actually lowered his moderation status, banning him from moderating comments!
Heck, the other day, he got into an argument with another moderator in the comments section...DS basically said the other mod was a fool for believing what he did, and they argued in the comments section.
Dave is a bully and a blowhard...a quick google search shows you that he cannot get along with others very well at all.
I've talked to Bill on numerous occasions,and I have a feeling it won't be long before the site is closed again due to Dave's childish antics.
I continually wonder why Bill allows Dave to run the site, especially when Dave's position runs contrary to most of Bill's ideas.
_These_ are precisely the questions ID should be asking.
For those not keeping track this and this are both excellent questions worth considering!
You said "Maybe they should send Richard Dawkins a bouquet of flowers and an invitation to be a keynote speaker where he can say to them things like this".
The sad thing is that this _has_ happened, and probably continues to happen. Here is a story that happened during the Darwin Centennial Convention in 1959 from By Design (page 5):
On Thanksgiving afternoon, a bell tower carillon echoed across the snow-dusted campus, the peals breaking out as a long procession of robed scholars reached Rockefeller Chapel... In what became known as his "secular sermon", he said that man no longer needed to "take refuge from his loneliness in the arms of a divinized father-figure" such as God. It was time to recognize that "all aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish and flowers, from fish and flowers to human society and values." The context as much as the content made for arch newspaper headlines, and Huxley, recalling the subsequent mild scandal in his memoirs, agreed that it was not the most appropriate speech to have given in a Church.
Check it out- DS is now arguing with his (former?) hero John Davison!
I'm starting to think this guy can't get along with ANYBODY. I almost feel sorry for him.