Saturday, September 22, 2007

'Irreducible Complexity' Reflects Human Ignorance

The Masked Man speaks!

One of the highlights of The Dembski Affair was Dembskis very public depantsing on the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. During the Q&A, a gentleman started out by asking "If I explained to you, right now, how the flagellum evolved, will you reject ID?" (This was a big part of Dembskis presentation "If someone would just show me how X evolved, I would be an evilutionist!) After much pestering from the audience, Dembski allowed him to explain the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, and even corrected Dembskis slides.

A student at the other mic chimed in, and they got Dembski to admit that no amount of detail would ever convince him of evolution. No matter how much evidence you had, he wanted 'evidence + 1'. I shit you not, Dembski retreated to the YEC fossil defense-- For every fossil you find, you create two more gaps. Dembski modified this to for every step in the evolutionary process science discovers, it creates two more half-steps to explain. He even pulled a classic-quack move, and made a plea to quantum mechanics.

The Masked Man had gotten the answer to his question-- Would Dembski ever accept evolution? No.


Well it was finally revealed that the Masked Man was a Dr. Phillip Klebba from OUs chem/biochem department-- and he has just written an OP-ed in the OU student newspaper!

'Irreducible Complexity' Reflects Human Ignorance'

Money shot:

As a researcher who understands the biochemistry that was the main subject of the lecture, I was surprised to find the discussion much less substantive than I anticipated.

It was a bit more like the naive questions of a teenager than the keen insights of an erudite philosopher.

I dont think he should have been *that* surprised. Dembski and certain kinds of teenagers have a lot in common.


Courtney said...

Did you ever get audio of that Q&A? I desperately want to hear it.

ERV said...

Well, the bad news is I cant do audio. The folks at Pandas Thumb, said not to even bother-- Dembski will be over here bitching for me to take it down at a drop of a hat (some of them have tried to upload Dembskis presentations before).

The good news is Im going to transcribe it all for you guys and add some commentary to cover the 'fair-use' bases! It means I wont have to deal with fixing the audio (REALLY loud sometimes, really soft others) and chopping a 2 gig file into downloadable bits, and my commentary will prevent Dembski from demanding the content be removed.

But you wont get to hear the audiences reactions, which are lovely :(

Brian G said...

Hey ERV! I'd love to hear them sometime if you have them.

By the way, I was surprised to find out you know Logan, he's a good friend of mine! He told me a lot about what happened at the Dembski Disaster.

Ian said...

The Klebba link appears to have died, but this link works (at least it did for me)

art said...

It's a good thing Dembski didn't try to run his "calculation" of the CSI in the bacterial flagellum by Klebba. A bon-fide biochemist would probably not believe that someone would authoritatively (as Dembski did in No Free Lunch) assert that diffusion does not occur in cells, and that the subunits of the flagellum bind each other with infinitely high affinity and zero specificity.

Alan Fox said...

Well, the bad news is I cant do audio. The folks at Pandas Thumb, said not to even bother-- Dembski will be over here bitching for me to take it down at a drop of a hat (some of them have tried to upload Dembskis presentations before).

I live in France. I could host your files on a French server if you like.

Calton said...

Err, you DO realize that your link to Prof Klebba's article is broken, don't you?

ERV said...

FIXED! Thanks Ian!

Rhology said...

I go to Trinity and know that the vid file will be available for free.

The sound guy who is cleaning it up says a fair amount of the audio from the Q&A session is pretty bad and the rest of the audio is mediocre, but I can get it. Email me if you want to talk about how we can get it to you. At cost, of course - cost of DVD and shipping to you. $3 or less, depending on location.


ERV said...

Thanks, Rhology!

How much are they selling the DVDs for, and when will they be available?

Rhology said...

OK, I have the raw video in my possession now.

Trinity is not selling them; according to my friend the sound guy, in whose charge the video file is, the file is available to anyone.

And like I said, I have it now. And it looks like

will allow me to host it for like 10 days for free... let me upload it and I'll post the download URL here. Tell your friends.

And I'm watching it now; the audio quality is pretty decent in my opinion. I believe it's the raw file but I can't be 100% sure. You were there, ERV - you can tell whether it's been cut or whatever. I only got in after about 15 min had elapsed in the Q&A.


Nigel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

And it's like 4.2 GB in 5 files, so it'll probably take me more than a day to upload since I'm tired and it's late tonight.
Email if you want a DVD.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Congratulations on the panda-lanche, and nice job.

Blake Stacey said...

I will happily rant about Dembski's wooful embrace of quantum flapdoodle, once I have a transcript to work from.

Rhology said...

I've been uploading the file for like 48 hrs now and it's not done yet. I don't think it's gonna happen. :-( My apologies...

Does anyone have any experience with BitTorrent stuff? Should I try that?

That's my only other idea besides mailing DVDs, which I'm happy to do. Whatever.


Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Bit torrent would work but how fast it is is limited to how many people you have connected to it at any given time combined with everyone's internet connection speed.

ERV said...

This video file thing is getting weird-- for no apparent reason.

One day Trinity is selling DVDs and CDs. The next day theyre only selling DVDs. The next day they arent selling DVDs, theyre uploading a .vid file for free. Then Rho was going to upload the DVD. Then we need to send Rho our home addresses to get DVDs.

This is weird, and I forbid any of my commeters from responding to Rho. Maybe he/she is innocently trying to help, but this is very strange, and I dont want any of you getting hurt.

Im fucking serious. Drop it. Ill have a series of posts for the Q&A soon.

Bill said...

Yes, Sir! er, M'am!

Roger wilco, message received.

Ix-nay on the Oh-ray.

Beginning radio silence...