It’s like watching contortionists at the freak show

Those funny guys at Uncommon Descent seem to have developed their new standard reply to charges that Jonathan Wells misrepresented Bill Ballard. They’re demanding an apology from me for saying mean things about Wells because—get ready for it—Wells is accurately reporting his agreement with Ballard’s ideas about development and evolution. I knew Ballard, briefly, and his work, and I’ve read both of Wells’ books cover-to-cover, so this is a surprise to me. Wells wrote these two books to support the evo-devo view? He isn’t trying to claim that development does not support evolution?

Come on, you kooks. Are you even aware of the bizarre position you’re putting yourself in? If you want to come in from that cold, crazy world you live in, though, please do: just admit that you were all wrong about evolution, and join the rational world.


  1. says

    They’re demanding an apology from me for saying mean things about Wells because–get ready for it–Wells is accurately reporting his agreement with Ballard’s ideas about development and evolution.

    This is exactly why logic and rhetoric need to be reinstated as required subjects in school curricula. I’m pretty sure that “making shit up as you go along” is a logical fallacy.

  2. Stephen Erickson says

    As far as I know, Dr Ballard is no longer with us? It’s a shame he can’t respond to Wells’ quote-mining himself.

  3. says

    Uh-oh, looks like it’s happened, suddenly I can’t post at UD anymore. Well, well, we’ll see if it pops up later but I ain’t stuffing my hope chest full of monogrammed towels just yet.

    Number One Greek Jason accused me of not reading Number 2 Comment and they pulled the “women get so emotional” line on me. Put the cuffs on me, officers. Chilly Bill is such a bore. No more flirty with you, dear.

    Wells simultaneous acknowledges the hourglass while shifting the word “earlier” around in it like sand and that’s not a distortion? Playing “I never said gastrulas for the pharyngula” because, in the final analysis, Wells grows and shrinks in his little womb out of time and space, “Now I’m a gastrula, now I’m not, haha, can’t catch me,” and acknowledges the same evidence for evolution that he in the next sentence claims refutes evolution, thus saying nothing at all, whether about pharyngulas or gastrulas, just covering his own asstrula.

    Which looks exactly the same as other people’s over there I might add.

    Thank you for your patience, Pharyngulites. I get it. I finally got it into my stubborn head that these people are just liars and that’s all there is to it. Lies. To my face. Repeatedly. In the face of the fact that I can see through their shit no matter how much they split bacterial flagella.

    Evoluton dead in 10 years. ID wins Nobel Prizes in 15 years, I was promised. Let’s wait and see.

  4. Timcol says

    I’ve been following UD for some time now and just find the site fascinating. Firstly, it’s been a long, long time since they actually posted anything whatsoever about ID. If you go to the site to actually learn anything about ID or current developments you aren’t going to find anything (well of course that’s because there are NO current developments).

    Secondly, even though this is supposedly Dembski’s blog, it’s apparent that the guy doesn’t really have anything interesting or important to say. Typically what he mostly does is to dig up some link from the Web (usually some obscure reference to “design”) and add a couple of sentences of his own. But he never adds any original thoughts or comments of his own. Considering that the IDers think is the “Newton of Information theory” he has surprisingly little to say.

    The person who seems to have the most to say is Dembski’s blog side-kic, Denyse O’Leary – yet try as I can, most of the time her posts are just garbled, rambling polemics written in a highly pretentious style that frankly often make no sense. For somebody who is a journalist she sorely needs some tips on how to structure an article and make her point. Honestly I’ve read some of her postings 3-4 times and they make absolutely no sense and it’s quite apparent she is unqualified to write about science (she is most definitely NOT the Chris Mooney of the ID world. Is this the best Dembski can do – some second-rate religion journalist who is completely clueless about science and can’t even write well?

    So it looks like the site has declined to the point where all they can do is pointless and unfounded attacks on evolutionists (like the one on PZ). If I was Dembski I would just close it down – it’s just a huge embarrassment and has nothing to do with ID anymore. That’s because we all now as a “theory” ID is just vacuous nonsense.

  5. says

    “I let kharley471’s comment through so everyone could see an example of the level of ‘reasoning’ employed by ID opponents. The other comments I deleted were rants.”

    Ah, I am to be Benjamin Peret to Patrick’s Andre Breton. Sneaky.

  6. 386sx says

    Wells just wanted to get that “semantic tricks” and “bending the facts of nature” shot in there to make it look like the evil intellectual scientists he hates so much admit that they go around playing “semantic tricks” and “bending the facts of nature” all the time. The only thing the people who read that sort of book care about are those little nuggets like “semantic tricks” and “bending the facts of nature” that catch their eye. It’s a similar genre to the Chariots Of The Gods or The Devil’s Triangle kind of trash. Duh!

  7. says

    “kharley471 and edwinhensley: Are you two daft?”

    Yes, I am, I am daft, because I have homework to do. You know, homework?

    Apparently I’m in for life. Maybe people should e-mail me for my login and post comments under my moniker. Why not? I wouldn’t be surprised if the UDudes write at least half of their fan mail themselves. Shades of Sunset Boulevard.

  8. Timcol says

    Denyse O’Leary is the Jeff Gannon of Intelligent Design.

    But not quite as spectacularly hung…well, at least I hope not.

  9. fox1 says

    I’m going back to taking PZ’s descriptions of the (anti-)intellectual circlejerks over at UD at face value, because investigating Dembskiville and its affiliated suburbs for myself was really not worth the mental gymnastics of trying to comprehend their arguments.

    The near-continuous shifting of each and every goalpost was amazing to see. In one, you had “PZ, apologize for evil LYING!” *Brief interlude with psuedo apology “I guess maybe PZ is just a poor scholar and wrong, not a liar” then immediate crowing about having the moral high ground* “PZ, we admitted that maybe you’re not lying, just stupid, so when will YOU apologize for being WRONG?”

    And then, the hilarious microcosmic sub-dialogue where, once it becomes completely apparent that what PZ said is in the book is, in fact, in the book, one poster muses about whether “gee, that call out box was probably the work of an editor, not the author himself.” 3 posts later, it’s being stated as fact that Wells had absolutely f***-all to do with the call out box, which was the work of some nefarious copy-editor. 3 posts after that “not acknowledging the obvious difference between an author’s own words and an editor he has no control over is completely irresponsible and disgusting!”

    The whole thing would have been completely hilarious if it hadn’t caused my brain to crawl out of my ear and down a bottle of expired percoset to “make the hurting stop.”

  10. Stephen Erickson says

    fox1, I’ve stated this elsewhere, it takes about five minutes to read a UD thread, but hours to crawl out from under the layers and layers of irony.

  11. says

    Know what it is? It’s “we are from Venus hear us roar” emotional manipulation and prolonged niggling over the minutiae of petty asides in an effort to trip you up. If you stutter they will pounce. Straw man? Hell, they put up straw (middle) fingers.

    Wells says everything and nothing, and therefore Jehu (whoever that person really is) claims justification in claiming that Wells is right in simultaneously restating and repeating Ballard. It is just ridiculous.

    I speak only for me, not PZ or anyone else, and I raised the distortion of Ballard’s article because for me that is the essential issue. It’s obvious what they’re doing to anyone with half a brain who can get one eye open. Fights like the one I engaged in go nowhere and are just exhausting. Nevertheless I remain pleased that my “Evolution dead in 10 years” and “Nobel prizes” comments remain. Tick, tock, tick, tock. For me, that too is the essential issue.

  12. shaker says

    Timcol: Considering that the IDers think is the “Newton of Information theory” he has surprisingly little to say.

    If anybody is to be called the “Newton if Information theory” shouldn’t it be Shannon who gets that title?

  13. MarkP says

    “Which looks exactly the same as other people’s over there I might add.”

    Kristine my dear, you are WAY more dedicated than I could ever be.

    Double Kudos on the worm comment Hal. I laughed so loud I scared my cats out of the room.

    I remain fascinated by the continuous parrallels between IDist behavior and Biblical Inerrantist behavior: grasp at any straw, change the definitions of clearly defined words, and accept any resolution of your problem, never mind whether there is any evidence to back it, or whether it is entirely inconsistent with everything else you say. See when you have the absolute truth, who cares about details?

    Biblical inerrancy hermenuetics applied to science. Ugh, ranks right up there with pickles and milk. Just remember folks, to an idiot, genius and gibberish are indistinguishable

  14. rrt says

    I wish we could get Judge Jones’ opinion on this, though of course it’s not worth considering since he’s an extremist godless liberal activist judge who won’t let Christians dictate from Congress and the Courts…

    I don’t think there’s any question that an informed, reasonable observer would conclude that the DI crowd has completely embarassed itself over this one.

  15. says

    Think that’s devotion? I’m showing up, bedecked and besequined, on Billy’s doorstep on April 2, 2016 with a belly-gram: “So, is evolution dead?”

    I think they’re starved for attention from chicks over there, BTW.