Wow. So, Billy Dembski is having a bit of a seizure over at Uncommon Descent right now. Um… ummmm… I feel stupid even writing this.
Um, Dembski is freaking out... because someone wrote a negative review of 'Design of Life’ at Amazon.com.
John Kwok, one of Amazons Top 50 reviewers, had the audacity to call Creationist Crap crap, and Dembski would have none of it. He even hauled out the Prize Pig argument I got from slack-jawed yokles that refused to believe Behe screwed up: “OMFG MAH BOOK IS THE GUD U SO DIDN’T READ IT!”
Um, Billy, I haven’t read your book. I haven’t even seen a table of contents. And I bet a bottle of single malt scotch I can tell everyone exactly what you and Moonie-Man Wells wrote. Ahem:
- Quote mines. Lots and lots of quote mines. More from Dawkins, the better. Scientists know evilution is wrong, but wont admit it.
- Pubjacks. Lots and lots of pubjacks.
- The word ‘Darwinists’ is used ~1,000 times.
- Fossil record is incomplete. There should be transitional fossils, but there arent any.
- Genetics supports design
- Junk DNA
- Pictures that were originally supposed to be from ‘The Inner Life of a Cell’, but Harvard told them no.
- The word ‘paradigm’ is used ~25 times.
- Lots of stuff about Materialism being evil—Certainly something about Nazis, including pictures from concentration camps.
- No testable predictions from ID Creationism.
What a pathetic, insecure, wet rat.
Who is he to start bitching about Amazon reviews anyway? Seriously, did Dembski sustain a major brain injury as a child that prevents him from retaining memories? Lets get in the Tardis again, but lets just go back to 2003:
1.0 out of 5 stars Who Are They Kidding?, December 22, 2003Yes, that ‘anonymous’ review which was basically an ad for Dembskis book, was written by… Dembski. And he posted it a few places, including on ‘Creationism's Trojan Horse’, under various names. Wow! That’s some book review! Covers multiple books! So much for ‘BUT U DIDN’T RED MAH BUK!’ as a defense.
By A Customer
Prometheus Press is one of the most militantly atheistic and ideologically driven presses around. And yet it purports that the following description of the book represents an unbiased assessment of Perakh's work: "This thoughtful and incisive critique from a veteran scientist genuinely concerned about the integrity of the scientific enterprise wastes no diplomacy on those who would see its purpose twisted to ideological ends." If there are ideological ends on the intelligent design side, there are no less ideological ends on the anti-design side, for which Perakh has now become a champion. Perakh's analyses of Behe, Johnson, and Dembski are in each instance defective. If simply by reading Perakh, you think he has decisively demolished intelligent design, you need to read the primary literature. Especially recommended here are John Campbell and Steve Meyer's _Darwinism, Design, and Public Education_ as well as Dembski's _The Design Revolution_, which answers many of Perakh's concerns.
I was also rather interested to find what reviews of ‘Design’ Dembski approves of. One was written by Donald Ewert. Yes, the same Ewert that won my ‘Crappiest Creationist Presentation EVAH!’ award. Im sorry, what *exactly* in Ewerts review demonstrates that Ewert read ‘Design’? Its just a coagulation of ID sound bites: ‘paradigm shift’ ‘complex and intricate mechanisms’ ‘methodological materialism’ ‘quantum mechanics’ blah blah blaaaaah **VOMIT**
Dembski is such a big man. Big and strong. When surrounded by people telling him how big and strong he is.
John Kwoks review—just in case it doesn’t get put back up:
On December 20, 2005 Federal Judge John E. Jones, a Republican jurist appointed by President George W. Bush rendered this decision:
"The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board's ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."
"Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator."
"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions."
"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."
"With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom."
"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."
Two years have elapsed since Judge Jones issued this historic verdict. A decision which was, without question, a staggering blow to both the Discovery Institute's Intelligent Design advocates, and to many others, who, regrettably, still harbor ample, rather disingenuous, pretensions to asserting the scientific validity of an idea that was soundly rejected once before, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and deserves its widespread current repudiation by modern scientists, especially from those who are professional evolutionary biologists (If you don't believe my claims, then please read the many ludicrous, often hysterical, comments posted by Intelligent Design advocates (who truly deserve British paleontologist Richard Fortey's perjorative nickname, IDiot) and other creationists at the Amazon.com product page for Dr. Michael Behe's "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits to Darwinism", often relying upon vituperative attacks on supporters of evolution, and in, general, on reason itself.). However, the conservative Discovery Institute, and its fellow intellectual travelers in the Intelligent Design and creationist movements are in a total state of denial, still refusing to admit their devastating debacle at the hands of a Republican Federal jurist. The most recent example of the Discovery Institute's ongoing delusional state is this very textbook co-authored by Discovery Institute Senior Fellows William A. Dembski and Jonathan Wells, who, in spite of their impressive academic credentials, have not published anything that would be regarded as valid mainstream science by their peers in the scientific community for nearly a decade and a half. Their book is the widely anticipated sequel to the earlier Intelligent Design creationist textbook "Of Pandas and People", whose "evolutionary" history was one of the important pieces of evidence used by plaintiff attorneys against both the Dover Area School District and Intelligent Design advocates during the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial. It can also be seen - and I believe quite correctly - as the Discovery Institute's last ditch effort at grasping at intellectual straws, by urging high school educators to "Teach the Controversy" - which this textbook emphasizes with respect to contemporary evolutionary theory - instead of trying to explain why Intelligent Design deserves ample, serious consideration as a valid alternative in attempting to explain the origins, history and current complexity of Planet Earth's biodiversity. Indeed, it should be regarded as a valiant, yet hopelessly inane, effort by two Fundamentalist Protestant Christian-oriented "scholars" who remain quite determined - almost to the point of religious fanaticism as seen from the likes of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda brethren - to seeing their narrow, tormented version of a Christian origin myth taught alongside genuine science in North American science classrooms and elsewhere around the globe.
This new textbook doesn't even try to defend Intelligent Design's pretense of being a better alternative to contemporary evolutionary theory in discussing the origins and history of life on Planet Earth. Nor does it demonstrate that it is valid science, but instead, stresses the current "controversies" with respect to our understanding of evolutionary biology, with topics ranging from those pertaining to the fossil record to evolutionary developmental biology; the latter known popularly as "evo-devo". Indeed, in private e-mail correspondence with both Dembski and Behe, I have received no definitive statements from either, indicating that Intelligent Design is truly, a compelling, scientifically more valid, alternative than contemporary evolutionary theory in explaining the origins and history of life on Planet Earth. Instead, the best response I received from them was this, quoting from Dembski, " Intelligent Design raises questions". It does indeed, but not those that he alludes to in his prolific writing, simply because he, Wells, Behe, Minnich, Gonzalez, and their fellow Intelligent Design advocates, have had more than fifteen years to make their case within the mainstream scientific community, and have failed miserably, not just once, but again and again (Much to my amazement, Philip Johnson, the spiritual "godfather" of the Intelligent Design "movement", has conceded recently that Intelligent Design is not yet a valid scientific theory.). I asked both Dembski and Behe these questions: "Where are Intelligent Design's testable hypotheses? Where are the productive scientific research programs inspired by Intelligent Design? Where are Intelligent Design's peer-reviewed scientific papers published in such eminent mainstream scientific journals such as Nature, Science, Paleobiology, Cladistics, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Evolution, American Naturalist, among others?" The replies I received were only deafening silence from both. So much for Intelligent Design's pretensions for being a valid scientific theory, right?
Dembski tries to make a persuasive case on behalf of Intelligent Design, using the same probabilistic models he developed for his "No Free Lunch" and "Explanatory Filter" concepts; the very models that have been harshly criticized by his former Ph. D. dissertation advisor at the University of Chicago, who is now a highly respected mathematician teaching at a prominent Canadian university (Incidentally, three times I have asked Dembski - who has a M. S. degree in statistics from the University of Illinois, Chicago - a basic statistics question which he couldn't answer, both twice, in person, after the 2002 American Museum of Natural History Intelligent Design debate, and, recently, in private e-mail correspondence: "How do you calculate the confidence limits for the Explanatory Filter?" Three times he hasn't provided me with any answer but a deafening, stony silence.). I wonder what the current president of the University of Chicago, distinguished mathematician Robert Zimmer - who is a prominent alumnus of my prestigious New York City public high school - thinks of Dembski's "research", especially when Zimmer has taught mathematics at the University of Chicago for decades, except for a relatively brief stint as the provost of Brown University (my undergraduate alma mater); it's quite possible that Zimmer served as a member of Dembski's doctoral dissertation committee in mathematics. Since Dembski's concepts are fundamentally, just metaphysical, pseudoscientific, religious nonsense, it seems that a more appropriate usage of his fine literary talents would be writing a textbook on Klingon Cosmology; a potentially lucrative suggestion that he has rejected (For reasons which I have noted elsewhere, here at Amazon.com, I believe that there is substantially more evidence in support of Klingon Cosmology than there is for Intelligent Design.).
Two years ago I attended an alumni gathering in the auditorium of my high school alma mater, New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School (Many regard Stuyvesant as America's premier high school devoted to the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Its many prominent alumni include distinguished scientists, mathematicians, engineers and doctors, including four Nobel Prize-winning scientists and an economist; the most of any high school in the United States; with the notable exception of arch rival Bronx High School of Science's seven Nobel Prize-winning alumni in physics. Barely three percent pass of those taking the annual competitive, quite rigorous, entrance examination for the nearly 800 places available in the following year's freshman class; an acceptance rate that is substantially lower than gaining admission to Harvard University's undergraduate college.). Stuyvesant's current principal, Mr. Stanley Teitel, pledged that Intelligent Design would never be taught at Stuyvesant, as long as he served as its principal; a pledge made by Mr. Teitel during the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial (Mr. Teitel has taught physics at Stuyvesant since the mid 1980s, and still teaches one course of senior-level physics to a class comprised of entering freshmen.). Why did Mr. Teitel make this pledge? The answer is obvious. Unlike Dembski, Wells, Behe, and their Discovery Institute colleagues, Mr. Teitel recognizes that Intelligent Design is unscientific.
In my Amazon.com review of British filmmaker Matthew Chapman's hilarious, yet profound, eyewitness account of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial, I concluded with these remarks, which, upon reflection, are an appropriate ending for my review of this latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography - which is how I regard Intelligent Design - being disseminated by the Discovery Institute:
"I concur with Ken Miller's observation that introducing Intelligent Design into science classrooms would be a `science stopper'. It would conflate most students' understanding of what exactly is the difference between religious faith and science, though I suppose that some truly gifted students, like those attending prominent American high schools such as Alexandria, Virginia's Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Tchnology, and New York City's Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School, might readily understand and appreciate these distinctions. And yet I am inclined to agree more with the harsh view articulated by distinguished British paleontologist Richard Fortey in his essay published in the January 30, 2007 issue of the British newspaper Telegraph, contending that it is an absolute waste of time arguing with Intelligent Design advocates, and that they ought to be dismissed as `IDiots'; by extension, so would be the teaching of Intelligent Design alongside evolution in a science classroom. I would rather see talented students from Thomas Jefferson, Bronx Science and Stuyvesant engage themselves fruitfully in genuine scientific research of the highest caliber, than in trying to understand the metaphysical, religious nonsense known as Intelligent Design and other flavors of creationism. I think, in hindsight, so would Charles Darwin."