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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I remember when Dennis Miller used to be funny

Dennis Miller, of Saturday Night Live fame, was at one time one of my favorite comedians. His sarcastic wit, his arcane cultural references, and use of language made him, in my opinion, one of the best in the business.

Of course, back then, he had a bit of a left-lean. I recall one of his HBO specials - "Dennis Miller: Black and White" - in which he explained that he would not ask pro-lifers for directions, much less their opinions on an unborn child, and that plans to put Ronald Reagan's head on Mt. Rushmore (yes, that was actually considered by the Reagan worshipping Gingrich congress!) were scrapped because it was discovered that 'granite was not a dense enough material to accurately portray the former president's head...'.

Alas, as time goes by, many people change, and not always for the better.

Some time between when I saw Miller live on the campus of Michigan State University ~1991 and about 2001, Dennis Miller became a conservative.
And along with that change, went his comedic genius.

Witty political rejoinders regarding the dim-wittedness of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens were gone, to be replaced with right-wing knee-slappers like responding to a comment that higher gas prices might be good for the environment and cut down on our reliance on foreign oil with a haughty intellectual "What is it with this Communist crap?"*

Wow, Dennis, insightful, clever stuff.

And now this.

Hinting that Nancy Pelosi is a 'nimrod' with a low IQ ranks right up there with another draft-dodging right-winger, Bruce Willis, urging people to vote for Bush 1 instead of Clinton/Gore because they are 'bozos.'

It seems that becoming a conservative makes a funny one no longer funny. The things that make conservatives laugh make most intelligent people whince in disgust, or stare blankly, wondering when the actual funny things are going to be said.
It is a shame. Miller was once worth listening to. Now, he is just a sad shadow of what once was. Right-wingery does that to you.

*This was on one of Miller's various short-lived talk shows, somewhere in the 2003-4 range. Unfortunatley, I forget the name of the show, as well as the name of the guest, but I distinctly remember Miller's idiotic reply, as it struck me as so uttelry irrelevant. It was at that time that I was certain Miller was no longer funny.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Colbert misinterepreted by Intelligent Design Creationist

So, what is new? It is not the first time that a right-wing rube has confused Colbert's satire and parody of right-wing TV/radio hosts with a humourous pro-right agenda.
But you'd think they wouldf have figured it out by now.

Apparently not.

'Scott' over at Dembski's blog has posted a video clip of Colbert's interview with Richard Dawkins, and titled it "Colbert Has Fun With Dawkins’s Delusions."

Please, watch the clip and ask yourself if you think Colbert's role was to make Dawkin's claims look delusional...

Looks like another loony is running the asylum


"He [Rumsfeld]leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Gotta love the logic of the Intelligent Design Creationist

I don't often read the entries, much less the comments, at Bill Dembski's blog. It, quite literally, almost makes me nauseous. The amount of projection, double standards, sycophantic adulation of heros, repeated errors, and sheer dishonesty spewn there is just too much to handle on a regular basis.

But I read a post on another dicsussion board commenting on a post Dembski had made regarding Groupthink. Creationists of all stripes like ot declare that the only (or one of the only) reasons that 'Darwinism' is still around is due to the 'groupthink' of its adherents. And Dembski's post insinuated just this (Real Mathematician Jason Rosenhouse does a nice take-down of the notion on his excellent blog and shows that, as so often is the case, Dembski and his coterie of sycophants are just projecting). The great irony being, of course, that the criteria apply far more directly and handily to Dembski and the cult of 'Intelligent Design.'

But what really interested me were some of the comments. The discussion devolved into the usual IDcreationism v. evolution, which is fine, but the following exchanges get to the heart of the title of this post. The first is by 'Houdin', an evolution supporter (I have edited the comments only for readability):

85. Houdin // Oct 18th 2006 at 5:48 am

Joseph says [my comments in brackets]

1)High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.
[Specified complexity and irreducible complexity are produced by Darwinian

2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.
[Science says they do. If ID says otherwise, please show us some evidence to support this claim.]

4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.
[Therefore we have two competing claims. One claim is that a designer is responsible for the specified complexity we find in living organisms. The other theory says that variation and natural selection is responsible. We can show you the second theory at work. ID has no examples of the Designer at work.]
Comment by Houdin — October 18, 2006 @ 5:48 am

This reply by an IDcreationist, relies on and points one of the primary types of "evidence" employed bvy the IDcreationist:

86. mike1962 // Oct 18th 2006 at 8:21 am

Houdin: “[Specified complexity and irreducible complexity are produced by Darwinian evolution.]”

I can demonstrate all day long CSI made by intelligent agents. Can you do the same for NDE? Conjecture doesn’t count as a demonstration.

Houdin: “3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to
explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible
complexity.[Science says they do.]”
No. Darwinian “science” merely conjectures that they do. There is lots and lots of hard evidence that intelligence agents can create CSI. There is none for NDE mechanisms. Therefore, so far, ID is the best explanation for the CSI in found in bio-forms.

And just who are the "intelligent agents" that can be pointed to that make CSI?
Well, 'Mike' doesn't say, but the standard - in fact the ONLY - such agent they can and have ever referred to is Humans. Thats right - humans are their "evidence" for Intelligent Design"... of the bacterial flagellum and everything else.

Because you see humans produce CSI, humans make comlicated and complex things.
Bacterial flagella and other such stuff is real complicated and complex, therefore, they must have been made by an Intelligent Agent. One just like us... Except much better. And just who might these folks posit such an Intelligent Agent might be? Well, the more political saavy IDcreaionists won't say, at least in public...

It is a big argument by analogy.

Which any intelligent, rational person should see is no argument at all. But it is all they have, and they really, really like using it.

Reason #672 why 'Intelligent Design' does not deserve to be called science, and why it does not belong in public school curricula.