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Academic Extinction[]


Wearing pink tasseled slippers and conical hats covered in polka dots, Darwinian biologists are persuaded that a plot is afoot to make them look silly. At Internet web sites such as The Panda's Thumb or Talk Reason, where various eminences repair to assure one another that all is well, it is considered clever beyond measure to attack critics of Darwin's theory such as William Dembski by misspelling his name as William Dumbski.

Publishing his work with the Cambridge University Press, hardly a venue known for its slack intellectual standards, Dembski has proposed that designed structures in nature might be detected by means of a rigorous analytical test. The idea of design is a staple of the social, anthropological and forensic sciences. It is the crucial metaphor in Noam Chomsky's minimalist theory. Dembski holds two PhD's, the first from the University of Chicago in mathematics, and the second from the University of Illinois in philosophy.

Dumbski indeed. Elsewhere, rhetoric is more measured, even if it conveys arguments no more compelling. After alluding to Intelligent Design at a faculty cocktail party-Je m'imagine cela-the dean of undergraduate education at the University of Calfornia at Berkeley was amazed and remarked "that colleagues indicated a great deal of sympathy for this alternative to Darwinism.'"

His amazement notwithstanding, the dean's defense was a model of evasive circumspection.

"Although I told them that few, if any, reputable biologists in the country subscribe to intelligent design, I could tell that they were not persuaded. Somewhat dismayed, I turned to other, more congenial issues."

Now these are remarkable words, if only because they reveal that a prominent academic regards it as quite natural to be dismayed on those occasions when his views are disputed. They are remarkable as well because they indicate that the dean is persuaded that dissent might in the case of Darwin's theory be ended by an appeal to what "reputable biologists believe."

My dear dean. Allow me to set you straight. It is precisely the reputable biologists who are under attack. For the first time, they are being asked to defend the thesis that biological design is more apparent rather than real. The effort has left them breathless. They are, of course, not about to surrender their ideological allegiances. Their rhetoric fills the op-ed columns of every liberal newspaper and is conveyed additionally by academic allies whose welfare is contingent on theirs -analytic philosophers, pop psychologists, and even newspaper columnists eager beyond measure to do anything but attentively study the evidence.

But what is at issue, of course, is not what reputable biologists believe, but whether it is true.

A great many ordinary men and women are persuaded that it is not. And even at Berkeley. Their dissatisfaction has traveled as far a field as Paris. Expertise is hardly at issue. Darwin's theory of evolution is not protected by the twelve doors mentioned in Revelation 21:21. It is right there in plain sight.

The unfathomable complexity of living systems, Darwin's theory affirms, is the result of random variation and natural selection. Is it indeed? Of these concepts, the second is hopelessly confused and the first is of no intellectual interest. Darwin's theory, when the thing is plainly considered, is no more than a form of behaviorism written on the level of the species. Like those endless psychological experiments, all of them conducted apparently at Harvard, in which some undergraduates were trained to say ouch after being stuck with a pin, and others to say ooh, species, on Darwin's view, are trained to say ouch or ooh when stuck by the environment.

B.F. Skinner is long dead, and among the dinosaurs, behaviorism in psychology has been the first to descend, honking sadly, into the tar pits.

What reputable biologists believe is one thing; what they fear is there in plain sight.

"Everyone on the Berkeley campus should be exposed to the arguments supporting real science and to the fallacies of views based on guesswork and unfounded hypotheses."

Ah, yes, Everyone should. Even at Berkeley.


Somewhere in the first edition of Black Mischief by Berlinski ,he described Behe's IC concept.


..The unfathomable complexity of living systems, Darwin's theory affirms, is the result of random variation and natural selection. Is it indeed? Of these concepts, the second is hopelessly confused and the first is of no intellectual interest.... - http://bit.ly/skSxGP , Daily Californian
...Look — Field studies attempting to measure natural selection inevitably report weak to non-existent selection effects.... - http://www.discovery.org/a/2450 , Wichita Eagle

In the Californian Berlinski states that the concept of ns is hopelessly confused, but in the Wichita Eagle he uses it as a meaningful concept. What to make to this?



His atheism nonetheless had a kind of shambling boisterousness that made Christopher HitchensseemaMirabeau to Richard Dawkins's Saint Just or Sam Harris's Robespierre. Hitchens was uninterested in subtle analysis. On the masthead of the Daily Hitchens, there is the legend: What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. The difficulty with this assertion is straightforward. If it has been asserted without proof, why should it be believed, and if not, where is the proof? I asked Hitchens about this during a break in our debate. We had retreated to a forlorn hotel loading ramp in order to have a cigarette. "Well, yes," he said, "it's just a sentence."

Berlinkski quoting vanity fair editor: Evidence that can't be verified is evidence to be dismissed. Therefore the sentence itself must be dismissed because it can't be verified.

Same type of fallacy: Since the sentence itself(...from the fact that something has not been proved, no conclusion can be drawn. ...) hasn't been proved how could we then draw the stated conclusion? The sentence impels us to to draw a conclusion, but because the proposition itself hasn't been proven the sentence is self-refutational. posted at https://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_frm/thread/bcb792735224f2aa#

Carl Sagan at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan wrote: ...... Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence ........ Willian Lane rebuttal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koMop6q3dxY

The problem with Sagan's positivism is that since the sentence itself is an extraordinary claim, it needs extraordinary evidence itself. Because there is no *extraordinary* evidence for it, no evidence infact it must be rejected as an extraordinary positivist fallacy.

Atheists only accept evidence, proof or science, but for evidence itself to avoid infinite regress it must have no evidence , only axiomatic assumptions. If can only accept evidence, then where is the evidence for evidence itself?


PZ Myers



http://www.sidis.net/Commentary%20Magazine%20--%20February%201998.htm No big bang.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/david-berlinski-makes-an-ass-of-himself-defending-intelligent-design/ from Jerry Coyne

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S89IskZI740 30min interview. AT 6min states that Natural Selection is a mechanism, it is in fact a Claim of logic which cannot be tested or experienced. If not even Berlinski can figure this out, then what hope is there for anybody else? At around 7min concludes that a random Darwinium mechanism cannot account for complexity. Randomness isn't a mechanism but Platonic concept that derives its meaning (Law of Excluded middle) as the opposite to design. Many synonymous or dissimilar terms depending on context can be used to represent this Platonic law of logic. Physics equations describe mechanisms, randomness itself isn't even definable like Life and Truth itself is undefined in terms of materialist premises. If something cannot be described by a physics equation, then it isn't a mechanism. If the concept sounds logical, simply has to be true, then in all probability it is a Claim of logic and thus not falsifiable or scientific: logic cannot be tested.

8min he asks how the "small changes" in beak sizes ..... This smallness, large issue confuses perception of scale with any possible mechanism that could have acquired attributes from the premise that in the distant past the information for such attributes were not there. This premise violates the first law of information, namely that information can neither be created nor destroyed like matter is neither created nor destroyed , but only expressed.

Note that clueless "Brights" Atheists are fond of invoking the scientific and non-scientific Platonic contrast in the pejorative sense but cannot derive their Law of excluded middle from any premise without rhetorical circularity - See Logical fallacies. (rhetorical as Platonic opposite to virtuous)