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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Darwin Didn't Believe This!

William Dembski, at his blog, falsely attributes to Charles Darwin this nefarious quote from The Descent of Man:

The reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts—and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal ’struggle for existence,’ it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed—and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults."

Charles Darwin was quoting other people.

In order to refute their racist arguments.

Have you no shame, William Dembski? How many lies are you willing to tell? You know better. What is your point? How is this justified at all?

Truly having an open mind does not mean keeping a defunct argument open forever. It means looking at the evidence and then drawing some conclusions.

I think we can safely draw the conclusion that the intelligent design movement has run out of ideas and must resort to these easily-refuted tricks to shock its Frankenstein monster again. But can Dembski shock his patchwork creation for the next nine years? (See left.)

UPDATED: On "cursing the light."

(Shimmies to RedStateRabble and Pharyngula)

UPDATED: Now William Dembski says:

I was well aware of the context [of the quote by another attributed to Darwin]. But if I make the context clear, PvM and his fellows will find something else to attack. Better to give them what appears a minor slip-up, let them attack that, and then show how they’re acting in bad faith because they have ignored the gist.

Believe it or not, it really helps that the other side thinks we’re such morons... [This is] a fact, one that can be exploited.

Oh, boy! Something that can be exploited - you being considered a moron! Only you, Bill. You know what? I don't think you're a moron. I think you're an opportunist.

And as for the "Have you no shame?" question, you just answered it. Thanks.

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Blogger AJM said...

I know they were rhetorical questions. But I can't help myself.

Have you no shame, William Dembski?

Ummm... the guy did a video on his stunning judicial defeat... with farting sound effects. Next question.

How many lies are you willing to tell?

See 'pathological'.

You know better.

Somewhere in the depths of his pscyhe, presumably, he must. I think it unlikely those surviving vestiges of his conscience will surface in this lifetime, however.

What is your point?

I believe the propaganda technique is generally referred to as a 'shitstorm'. As in, presumably some of it will stick.

How is this justified at all?

What's a little baseless, vicious libel against a basically decent man when you're lying for the Laird?

(Yes, I know. I need another hobby.)

March 22, 2007 4:59 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Another hobby besides evolution ("stamp collecting"), AJ? ;-)

Like what? Fart collecting?

You think you need another hobby? I'm going to be at this for the next nine years and one week, at least.

They didn't have these kind of predictions at the Little Rock trial.

March 22, 2007 5:11 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 22, 2007 5:11 PM  
Blogger Russ said...

Please don't ever seriously consider giving up evolution as one of your hobbies. Take on "Another hobby besides evolution" perhaps, but don't give up evolution. The world needs more people to be as engaged as you are, Kristine.

Out of all the generations of humans that have ever lived, only the most recent eight, or so, have been privileged enough to know their own origins. Further, we're privileged to know how the knowledge of our origins came to be, and we're privileged to know that that knowledge of our origins came, not from some omnipotent menace, but from one of our own, Charles Darwin. We're priviliged to know that the knowledge of our origins came to Mr. Darwin through science - the greatest tool ever devised for teasing out nature's secrets. And, we're priviliged to know that science itself is a precious gift bestowed by mankind unto mankind: science is 100 percent supernatural-free.

Your blogs encourage the public understanding of evolution, and for that you are to be commended, Kristine. But, beyond that, it is your willingness to put in the sustained effort to keep evolution in the public psyche where your impact is greatest. Please don't abandon your hobby of evolution.

I'm deeply tormented when I look ahead to 2009 and Darwin's 200th birthday. At that time in much of the developed world, Darwin will be celebrated for the intellectual hero he is, but, here, in the US - as yet, still the world leader in scientific advancement, but quickly losing ground - many of our museum's, the Smithsonian Institution, for instance, have been forbidden from any special observances honoring Darwin, due to religious superstition.

In your helping to combat superstition, Kristine, you are deeply appreciated. You do us all a great service.

Thank you,


March 23, 2007 12:21 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Thank you, Russ! I was joking, you know - I'm not going to back away from evolution or the issue of science education. (At the very least I'm committed for the next nine years!)

When I was a teen-ager I wrote letters to the newspaper about the Little Rock trial. Gould and Sagan were (are) my heroes, as you know.

Don't despair. Creationism can be viewed as a "strategy," just as Dawkins speaks of - but science is the real "ESS." The U.S. can't live without science and people know that.

I suspect that a lot of Americans actually do accept evolution, or at least fear that it's true, but don't yet know how to fit it into their religious paradigm - which reflects a need for self-esteem rather than factual truth.

I recently submitted an article to The Humanist that detailed how to educate Americans about evolution and science by appealing to what is most noble in them (which, unfortunately, has been exploited by creationist hucksters thus far).

Cheaters "win" in the short term, but one can't build a life that way. Dembski isn't winning, which is why he makes this particularly cloddish poke at Charles Darwin, to whom we owe so much.

I'm in this for the long haul. Keep on doing what you're doing, too. You have been a big help to me in our discussions.

March 23, 2007 12:43 AM  
Blogger Louis said...

Several things:

1) Great post.

2) Happy fricking birthday!


March 23, 2007 5:15 AM  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

How low will they stoop? As low as they need to.

March 23, 2007 5:52 AM  
Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitor said...

The superstitious overlords are losing ground. The propaganda, the coopting of science and langueage and the hypocracy are all elements that add credence to the fact that the religious hucksters are growing more desparate in promoting their poisonous agenda.

I would like to see the non religious added to the list of protected minorities.

March 23, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Thank you, Louis. Long time no hear!

BeepBeep, if Dembski stoops any lower he's going to rupture a disc in his back.

Rev. Barky, we need to think big. And we need to be spies.

Speaking of which... ;-)

March 23, 2007 9:04 AM  
Blogger Kevin Scott said...

There are those of us who not only accept evolution, but see it as a great way to understand human behavior.

To interpret the Bible in light of science makes a lot more sense than interpreting science in the light of the Bible.

Consider: We know the earth revolves around the sun. When we read scripture passages about the sun going up or going down or returning to the place from where it came, we know the language is figurative. The same ought to be true of talking snakes.

I know most of you who post here (and certainly Kristine) know this, but I post for the sake of the lurkers.

For the sake of God, why won't someone think about the lurkers?

March 23, 2007 9:34 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, I think the lurkers know that I'm aiming at the ID crowd, Kevin.

I can't for the life of me figure out how Dembski can simultaneously invent the Designer and believe in God. It seems that, if one lies to oneself, one not only learns not to trust oneself, but anyone else, too.

How can anyone have a religious experience after having crafted this Frankenstein monster called intelligent design? Dawkins speaks of (atheist) scientists of being "religious" in their sense of wonder. Perhaps Dembski has no wonder - he's trying to find some, I think.

Q: Is there an emotional side to the intellectual enterprise of exploring the story of life on Earth?

Dawkins: "Yes, I strongly feel that. When you meet a scientist who calls himself or herself religious, you'll often find that that's what they mean. You often find that by "religious" they do not mean anything supernatural. They mean precisely the kind of emotional response to the natural world that you've described. Einstein had it very strongly. Unfortunately, he used the word 'God' to describe it, which has led to a great deal of misunderstanding. But Einstein had that feeling, I have that feeling, you'll find it in the writings of many scientists. It's a kind of quasi-religious feeling. And there are those who wish to call it religious and who therefore are annoyed when a scientist calls himself an atheist. They think, 'No, you believe in this transcendental feeling, you can't be an atheist.' That's a confusion of language."

"And, by the way, I think it would also be abuse to talk about an atheist child."

I think people use different symbols and texts to encapsulate similar experiences. This is easier to see in comparative religion than, for example, Dembski posting about a fire rainbow and saying, "This makes me rebel against materialism," whereas I look at it and say, "but the pretty rainbow is a material thing, my perception of it is material, my liking it too is material, so why can't the material be 'spiritual?'"

March 24, 2007 4:36 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

This young man gets it, and gets it big time.

March 24, 2007 5:35 PM  

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