Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bill Dembski and his sycophants (or is it psycho-phants?) - grotesque hypocrites and all 'round bad people

While perusing the Internet Infidels creation/evolution discussion board, I came across an interesting thread.

The author had written a review of Ann Coulter's take on evolution in her latest sleaze-oozing imbecile-fest, "Godless", and dared mention that Wizard of ID, Bill Dembski (who has boasted of providing Coulter with much of her "information" about evolution).

Dembski, ever the ego-pumping hypocrite and credential monger, would have none of it.
He made an 'all you have to do is read this' post on his blog titled "Nonexperts in evolutionary biology criticizing nonexperts in evolutionary biology for criticizing evolutionary biology".

The only text of this post was a snippet from the review in which the authors rightly mention the fact that Coulter (and Behe and Dembski himself) is apparently unwilling or unable to read primary scientific journals to get information.
Dembski's supposed rebuttal is to post the 'biographies' of the co-authors of that paper - one is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Rochester, the other is "...a self-employed artist, an activist for social change, and an avid student of history and anthropology."

This is supposed to render their opinions of Coulter's book irrelevant.

Let us remind ourselves just who William Dembski is.

He is a mathematician, philosopher, and theologian.

He has never done any research in nor has he taken any college-level courses in (as far as I can tell) anything related to biology. Yet, he writes 'authoritatively' on things like genetcs, evolutionary biology, etc.

A bit of the old pot calling the kettle black, to say the least.

What is more, there is a comment on one of the comments in that thread which reads:

"Why would a biologist be considered an expert in design, digital information systems, and factory automation? Sorting out where different critters belong in the phloygenetic tree is really little more than stamp collecting. All the action is in reverse engineering the machinery of life at the molecular scale. Engineers are the experts at reverse engineering. Who cares what happened in the distant past?..."

That comment was provided by one David Scott Springer, supposedly a retired computer tinkerer at Dell. Isn't it interesting to see yet another example of the computer tech/programmer/scientist asserting primacy of his sphere of knowledge above actual relevant knowledge? Allow me to turn that comment around and make it directly relevant:

Why would an expert in design, digital information systems, and factory automation be considered an expert in biology? Concocting or re-writing computer software or re-arranging pre-existing modules is little more than over-valued trial and error. All the action in biology is trying to figure out how biological systems operate, what does the ability to alter computer screen contrast or make a faster CPU have to do with providing any special insight on that?Biologists are the experts in biology. Engineers are the experts at engineering. Who cares what happens in a computer workshop when it comes to biology?


Mark said...

I think it must be "psycho pants"--they must be so tight they cut off the circulation to Billy D's brain. Just consider his recent response (can be seen at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, among other places) to the question, "Do you really accept responsibility for any errors in Ann Coulter's mindless screed?"

BC8 said...

Excuse my fellow software developers. For some reason, there seems to be too many of them that just don't get naturalistic evolution - despite the fact that genetic algorithms is part of computer science. I'm not sure why developers don't understand evolution although part of me wonders if it has something to do with the nature of computer code versus DNA code. Computers are extremely picky about the software code that we write. One tiny error, it complains, and refuses to run. As the phrase goes: "Lots of rules and no mercy". In most cases, a section of code won't accomplish anything until large sections of mutually interdependent code are written (sort of an "irreducable complexity"). If life were as picky about DNA syntax as computers are about software syntax, I could understand why developers would dismiss the idea of evolution. But, it's not. A gene to accomplish a particular task comes in a large variety of forms (I've seen and compared the varieties of the cytochrome-C gene, for example). My only guess is that software developers think that genetic code is just as unforgiving as software code. Add the fact that life is far more complex than any software program, and they come to the erroneous conclusion that evolution is totally unworkable. They also seem to forget that nature is an automated testing system.

Doppelganger said...

Thanks for the comments - and believe me, we know that not all computer-types are definitely NOT of the ilk that inhabit Dembski's den of sycophants and similar internet creationist haunts.

FreezBee said...

"Thanks for the comments - and believe me, we know that not all computer-types are definitely NOT of the ilk that inhabit Dembski's den of sycophants and similar internet creationist haunts."


You know, we computer-types tend to become as cranky as compilers concerning syntax rules :-)

Doppelganger said...

Yeah, yeah...