I get email


Whoa, this one is a doozy. I dare you — I double-dog dare you — to stay awake through the whole thing.

an open letter biology professor P. Z. Myers

Dear Professor Paul Myers,

I remain absolutely willing to be convinced of the scientific adequacy of the theory of evolution to explain the phenomenon of speciation.

But as a non-scientist (and someone who always felt he was in a foreign land when studying science in high school) I have never considered myself competent to judge the arguments on both sides of the controversy: evolution versus intelligent design. I mean by this, that I would never consider trying to debate either yourself, or, for example, Michael Behe.

However, I do feel I have a firm grasp of the first person ontological domain of this controversy: viz. what it feels like to be a hard-core Darwinist in the act of opposing intelligent design; how it feels to be a fervent believer in intelligent design challenging the validity of DarwinÔÇÖs theory.

What I mean by this, Professor Myers is, What is the significance of the psychology that comes into play in the fierceness and intensity of this debate? Because it is obvious to anyone standing on the sidelines (without a bias one way or the other) that individual scientists (and I have to say this is more pronounced on the Darwinian side) feel extremely strongly about this matter. And right there, I would like to know: Have the Darwinists (like yourself) ever wondered what is the evolutionary origin of the vehemence and passion with which you defend Darwin? Personally, were I a true believer in Darwin, I would know: this issue is a scientific one; Darwin has already been proven right; therefore any dispute about this has to be explained by some failure of perception, objectivity, or courage on the other side. Truth, after all, is unbiased.

A proponent of intelligent design (I am speaking as a Darwinist here) must lack some capacity to ÔÇśseeÔÇÖ biological reality as it innocently and emphatically presents itself to the scientist through the brilliant and truthful lens of Darwinian theory. Which means, if I am going to oppose intelligent design, I am first of all going to seek some explanation  for why someone (especially a scientist) could possibly believe in intelligent design when I know that a purely disinterested and impartial viewing of the facts makes Darwinian theory irresistible as the best possible explanation for how the different forms of life came into existence.

If my best friend started to believe in intelligent designÔÇö;and became critical of Darwin–I  would want to know, what is it that I know about my friend personally which would make him predisposed to believe in such a theory, when it is obvious, if he were being completely objective (as I know him to be capable of being in other spheres of his intellectual life), he would see how impossible it is to, in all good scientific conscience, believe in a theory which challenges the truth of Darwin.

In other words, Professor Myers, What is it within the individual human being (with identical academic training, with identical knowledge of DarwinÔÇÖs theory as the Darwinist) which makes him attempt to refute a theory which, as almost every scientist knows, is almost as respectable and uncontroversial as the Theory of Gravity?

But not only this: I would attempt to observe and detect exactly what it is within that person which begins to express itself (that is some sense is abnormal:–some version of wish-fulfillment?) when this topic of evolution versus intelligent design comes up. I want to see what gets triggered in the person who believes in intelligent design such that I can see the psychological or metaphysical moment when they begin to manifest the effect of being deceived.

Now if I donÔÇÖt seek this causal antecedent, and simply plunge into the polemics of opposing intelligent design (and its supporters), thinking that if I become intellectually aggressive towards and contemptuous of these enemies of science they will be routed*, I am ironically missing the whole point. Because, Professor Myers, the very means I choose within my first person ontology (my subjective experience of how I feel and what it is like to be me, Paul Myers, when these intelligent design people start arguing against Darwin) to defend Darwin will ITSELF become apparent to the opposition. How really confident and certain can Paul Myers be about the Theory of Evolution if he ignores what it is that could be driving a person to oppose Darwin, and instead gets entirely wrapped up in the business of attacking intelligent design theorists? Since, in a fundamental sense, the truth is not in doubt. And if the physical universe could speak, it would tell us this.

Now comes my main observation. It is this: In my reading of this debate it would appear that the people who are arguing for the validity of intelligent design are so confident and trusting in the truth of their theory that they eschew the subjective (we are not talking about creationists here), and what this enables them to do is to see the desperation of the other side in terms of a first person ontological standpoint.

This is THE most serious weakness, unconscious as it must be, in the firm believers in Darwin, that they are so aroused by the threat to Darwin (sincere as they undoubtedly think they are that Darwin is right, that intelligent design is a fatal projection) that they exercise little or no control over the matter of how they appear in their passionate defense of Darwin. The intelligent design people, on the other hand, find that, in their  honest contact with the scientific facts as they encounter them, there simply is no need to rev up their first person ontology; the facts speak for themselves. Indeed, I would go much further than this: the real believers in intelligent design have empirically discovered that defending intelligent design seems to be an activity which warrants the support of reality, and since reality appears to corroborate their findings and observations, there simply is no need to become determined by their first person ontologyÔÇö;that is to say, in a defensive or aggressive or outraged manner. They do not feel threatened by DarwinÔÇÖs theory.

As I said at the outset, Professor Myers, I would not want to unequivocally pronounce who is right and who is wrong in this debate, but I will say that, did I know nothing about the merits of the issue, and was ignorant of the arguments promulgated on both sides, I would, nevertheless, be persuaded that the theory of intelligent design must be a better explanation for speciation than the theory of evolutionÔÇö;and I think you know why.

Because, I would observe that the Darwinists (for the most part) demonstrate in their behavior an almost ontological determination that intelligent design has to be wrong and Darwin right entirely independent of the objective facts of the matter. Certainly this is how most Darwinists are acting in the face of the challenge of intelligent design. And if DarwinÔÇÖs theory were an unqualified truth, the theory itself would implicitly be there supporting the Darwinist in his battle with his ignorant enemies, and it would be the intelligent design advocate who would be ex hypothesi acting as the Darwinists now act.

Just to be extreme, Professor Myers, I would say that the very intolerance and hostility of the Darwinists to intelligent design is evidence of just how ultimately (and intrinsically) weak DarwinÔÇÖs theory is. It is of course a beautiful and brilliant theory, but it is being made to do the work of something that has to encompass the entire physical universe and all its details, and it seems an indisputable fact to me, as an outsider looking in, that to the extent to which it cannot rise to this challenge (in other words to the extent to which it is inadequate as an explanation for the existence and multiplicity of physical life) is the very extent to which  in defending such a theory, the Darwinist has to become dangerously engaged in his first person ontology. Dangerously engaged in the sense of trying to make a theory fit reality while all the while reality has a secret: Darwin cannot explain me, and therefore if you are going to employ Darwin to explain me, you are going to have to go it alone. I am not going to come to your assistance: therefore, your first person ontology will have to do what I cannot do for you. And that, at some point, is going to start hurting.

Sincerely.
Robert Wood

*

ÔÇťOur only problem is that we arenÔÇÖt martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.ÔÇŁ(author intimately known to yourself: this is his first person ontology speaking)

Somebody is seriously overcompensating, aren’t they? That’s some piece of twisty-turny logic couched in arch and overwrought language. Just a suggestion, Mr Wood: you can’t fill a vacuum with pedantry, no matter how much you try to shovel in.

Let me help. I get this argument all the time: “you wouldn’t be so angry if the Designists/Creationists/Illuminati/Holocaust Deniers/Second Gunmen/Flat Earthers weren’t right!” It’s a very silly rationale, and no, writing it in a more longwinded style doesn’t help.

There’s a simple reason why biologists get pissed off with creationists, and it has nothing to do with a “first person ontology” — it’s that we have the hard work, the data, the experiments, the whole dang enchilada of the “objective facts of the matter,” and pretentious pissants like Mr Wood think nothing of overlooking their own self-admitted ignorance of evolution to pronounce a verdict based entirely on their half-assed psychoanalysis of the universe. We can see quite clearly (especially in this instance) what it is that drives a person to oppose Darwin (as if ol’ Chuck had anything to do with the issue at this point): it is the arrogance of incompetence, the self-satisfied smugness of preening assholes, the sanctimony of pious lackwits, the insufferable stupidity of pompous windbags who think they can rationalize their superstitions by seeking justification in a kind of gasified cold reading.

Your bubble-headed bullshit doesn’t bamboozle me, Mr Wood — I think the only person your verbose drivel might persuade is another superficial drone who mistakes diarrhea for depth.

Comments

  1. Graculus says

    I would observe that the historians (for the most part) demonstrate in their behavior an almost ontological determination that Holocause denial has to be wrong and history right entirely independent of the objective facts of the matter.

    I would observe that astronomers (for the most part) demonstrate in their behavior an almost ontological determination that astrology has to be wrong and astronomy right entirely independent of the objective facts of the matter.

    I would observe that the doctors (for the most part) demonstrate in their behavior an almost ontological determination that crystal-healing has to be wrong and medicine right entirely independent of the objective facts of the matter.

    It’s a game the whole family can play.

  2. Brian says

    I read it, and I think that guy is engaged in ontological wankery. What a tosser! Give me a break. “Oh, see, you’re arguing, thus you must be overcompensating because you know your case is weak!”
    I wonder if he’d think that if he was falsely accused by the police and they locked him up one night in a cell with a few mean guys who wouldn’t respect him in the morning? Do you think he’d refrain from arguing his case and wish to be released unharmed because it might show his first person ontology?

  3. Unstable Isotope says

    Simple answer: we don’t like them because they are liars. Is that clear enough? I can’t stand these snake oil salesman who use people’s ignorance to take advantage of them.

    Quit trying to turn this into a cult of personality. I know the evolutionists must do this because they don’t have truth on their side. This has nothing to do with not wanting to “debate” them.

  4. bladescythe says

    part way through reading that letter i realised that you could change the names of the sides (darwinists to IDers and vice versa) without changing the the argument (only the point trying to be made). In fact i am fairly certain you could insert the names of any two opposing sides of an argument without changing the surrounding text and it would remain equaly legible. Now i heard someone say recently if your argument can be twisted to make a point about anything, chances are your argument really doesn’t actually say much at all (its probly logically invalid, in this case based on the assumptions)[hitchens i beleive].

  5. potentilla says

    His argument would be more interesting if there were actually anybody who believes that intelligent design is a better explanation than evolution by natural selection without at the same time believing in a god.

    Are there any examples of people who took up with ID whilst they were atheists and still are atheists, or (more logically) only subsequently converted to a religion?; as opposed to people who were religious with a brand of religion which dogmatically requires some form of creationism, and who also subscribe to ID? I very much doubt it.

    Darwin cannot explain me That seems to be the nub of his world view; that evolutionary biology (about which he knows nothing) cannot explain anthing so complicated? wonderful? intelligent? as him.

  6. sailor says

    “It is of course a beautiful and brilliant theory, but it is being made to do the work of something that has to encompass the entire physical universe and all its details”

    Darwinism does that? Was he reading the Voyage of the Beagle and taking acid at the same time? If he writes that much about something about which he knows so little, I would hate to read what he writes about something in his area of expertise.

  7. says

    That was just awful. A post like this should be put up at about 11:00pm and served with a nice, warm glass of milk…zzzzzzzzzz

  8. Jazmin says

    Ooh! A double-dog dare! I can do this, I can really do this…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

    Crap, next time I’ll let the caffiene kick in first.

  9. says

    Hey, someone forgot to close an italics tag in this post somewhere….

    I see italics starting right after the end of Woods’ letter. I think either our browsers or PZ’s posting s/w were overwhelmed by the verbose silliness and haven’t recovered yet.

    But at least he spelled “Myers” correctly.

  10. Ric says

    Beyond the stilted language and convoluted logic, what strikes me is that the Intelligent Design creationists get equally angry, if not more so. Moreover, they engage primarily in juvenile public relations stunts and character assassination (eg. their attacks of Judge Jones). If they were, in fact, supremely confident of the truth of their position, they would just lay out the facts and wait for the world to admit to their ineluctable truth. They haven’t done that? Of course not, because they have no facts.

    Oh, and I found it laughable that the writer claims to be objective and not to favor either side. Sure.

  11. says

    Robert Wood has elegantly presented the argument that absolutely nothing can ever be wrong. Wrongness is an ontological phenomenon that only exists in the mind of fanatical adherents to the rightness of their own theories, which stand in contradiction to the one for which they postulate wrongness. For this there is no ex hypothesi justification since wrongness is merely a first person ontological standpoint that can never live up to the reality of the universe. Furthermore, since absolutely nothing can ever be wrong it is clear that Mr Wood’s argument cannot be either. Q.E.D.

    Am I getting close?

  12. Andre says

    I just had a big lunch and a beer… Couldn`t make past the second praragraph.

    I`m I the 500.000th guy?

  13. says

    Is it just me, or does this Ed, I mean Robert Wood guy come off as a pompous prick?
    I mean, if he actually took the time to examine why “darwinists” so vehemently opposed the efforts of Intelligent Design proponents rather than navel contemplation, he’d know that the Intelligent Design proponents have a) not bothered to do any science, b) are pushing an agenda to fatally wreck the educational system of the country, c) not bothered to do any science, d) can not truthfully explain anything with or about Intelligent Design “theory,” and most importantly, e) not bothered to do any science.
    Michael Behe genuinely said that the Intelligent Designer literally works in a puff of smoke.
    This Robert Wood moron might as well argue about how it’s morally right to stone people who wear polyester to death: he couldn’t sound anymore pompous or ridiculous.

  14. says

    Actually, I had little difficulty staying awake through the whole thing (do I get a prize for that?). Furthermore, I thought it not completely unreasonable: Mr Wood is merely trying to make the point that patience and politeness are a more effective strategy for debating than foaming at the mouth.

    Whether or not that is true, or an accurate description of effective arguing tactics, I do agree with him that defenders of science often appear (ahem) overly enthusiastic in their defence of their position, and of their dismissal of their opponents, and that the ID people (moreso than the “mainstream” YEC creationists) give the appearance of calm civility. Claiming that they only want a “balanced treatment” of “both sides” of the issue sounds eminently reasonable. More effectively, it can be said briefly, unlike the scientific position, which requires explaining why the other side’s argument is so utterly devoid of evidence as to merit any further consideration.

    In other words, Mr Wood is saying that scientists have an image problem, and that the ID people do not. Given that the DI is essentially a PR group, this is no big news to anyone. This image problem arises out of frustration from a different problem, one of communication. As PZ himself has pointed out many times, science requires an attention span: one cannot distil a scientific principle into a thirty-second sound-bite and have it be meaningful. The audience must be interested in the topic, and patient enough to follow the arguments through. Creationism, in all its forms, has a distinct advantage over science in this regard.

    What needs to change here, of course, is education. People need to understand what science is, which requires good education from an early age. Of course, that is exactly what the creationists oppose, so improving science education requires going up against the uneducated. It is a vicious cycle, which is itself a frustrating situation to fight. It is all the more frustrating that our opponents seem better able to exploit it than we are.

  15. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Yay! I stayed awake! I’m good!!!

    Darwin has already been proven right; therefore any dispute about this has to be explained by some failure of perception, objectivity, or courage on the other side.

    He missed ignorance. He really managed to miss ignorance.

    In the immortal words of Jack Slater… “Mighty big mistake.”

    In other words, Professor Myers, What is it within the individual human being (with identical academic training, with identical knowledge of Darwin’s theory as the Darwinist) which makes him attempt to refute a theory which, as almost every scientist knows, is almost as respectable and uncontroversial as the Theory of Gravity?

    Very simple: such a person does not exist. To be a creationist, one has to be ignorant. And that is what people like Behe have repeatedly shown themselves to be.

    Now comes my main observation. It is this: In my reading of this debate it would appear that the people who are arguing for the validity of intelligent design are so confident and trusting in the truth of their theory that they eschew the subjective (we are not talking about creationists here),

    Huh? Of course we are.

    and what this enables them to do is to see the desperation of the other side in terms of a first person ontological standpoint.

    Nah. They simply make the one stupid mistake: they mistake their ignorance for knowledge. They believe that nobody knows more than them. Therefore they do not bother to learn. Therefore they do not understand why they are treated like astrologers or flat-earthers. And therefore they try to explain the opposition against them by “desperation” and the like.

    The intelligent design people, on the other hand, find that, in their honest contact with the scientific facts as they encounter them

    Wrong. They have encountered a very, very small proportion of the facts they need to know in order to understand why they are wrong.

    Because, I would observe that the Darwinists (for the most part) demonstrate in their behavior an almost ontological determination that intelligent design has to be wrong and Darwin right entirely independent of the objective facts of the matter.

    Learn the objective facts, and then come back.

    Just to be extreme, Professor Myers, I would say that the very intolerance and hostility of the Darwinists to intelligent design is evidence of just how ultimately (and intrinsically) weak Darwin’s theory is.

    Nope. It is evidence of just how ignorant the cre_ti_nists — and you — are. Hey, try becoming a gravity denier. People would call you a moron. Guess why.

    It is of course a beautiful and brilliant theory, but it is being made to do the work of something that has to encompass the entire physical universe and all its details

    If you can, please explain why. But I bet you can’t. Your ignorance just shows again.

    Scientists are used to call a spade a spade; not a stick, not a shovel, but a spade. So, when they encounter people who are stupid enough to argue based on their ignorance instead of learning, they will use the words “stupid” and “ignorance” to describe them.

    Oh, and, BTW: italics are for scientific names, not for tiny degrees of emphasis.

  16. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Yay! I stayed awake! I’m good!!!

    Darwin has already been proven right; therefore any dispute about this has to be explained by some failure of perception, objectivity, or courage on the other side.

    He missed ignorance. He really managed to miss ignorance.

    In the immortal words of Jack Slater… “Mighty big mistake.”

    In other words, Professor Myers, What is it within the individual human being (with identical academic training, with identical knowledge of Darwin’s theory as the Darwinist) which makes him attempt to refute a theory which, as almost every scientist knows, is almost as respectable and uncontroversial as the Theory of Gravity?

    Very simple: such a person does not exist. To be a creationist, one has to be ignorant. And that is what people like Behe have repeatedly shown themselves to be.

    Now comes my main observation. It is this: In my reading of this debate it would appear that the people who are arguing for the validity of intelligent design are so confident and trusting in the truth of their theory that they eschew the subjective (we are not talking about creationists here),

    Huh? Of course we are.

    and what this enables them to do is to see the desperation of the other side in terms of a first person ontological standpoint.

    Nah. They simply make the one stupid mistake: they mistake their ignorance for knowledge. They believe that nobody knows more than them. Therefore they do not bother to learn. Therefore they do not understand why they are treated like astrologers or flat-earthers. And therefore they try to explain the opposition against them by “desperation” and the like.

    The intelligent design people, on the other hand, find that, in their honest contact with the scientific facts as they encounter them

    Wrong. They have encountered a very, very small proportion of the facts they need to know in order to understand why they are wrong.

    Because, I would observe that the Darwinists (for the most part) demonstrate in their behavior an almost ontological determination that intelligent design has to be wrong and Darwin right entirely independent of the objective facts of the matter.

    Learn the objective facts, and then come back.

    Just to be extreme, Professor Myers, I would say that the very intolerance and hostility of the Darwinists to intelligent design is evidence of just how ultimately (and intrinsically) weak Darwin’s theory is.

    Nope. It is evidence of just how ignorant the cre_ti_nists — and you — are. Hey, try becoming a gravity denier. People would call you a moron. Guess why.

    It is of course a beautiful and brilliant theory, but it is being made to do the work of something that has to encompass the entire physical universe and all its details

    If you can, please explain why. But I bet you can’t. Your ignorance just shows again.

    Scientists are used to call a spade a spade; not a stick, not a shovel, but a spade. So, when they encounter people who are stupid enough to argue based on their ignorance instead of learning, they will use the words “stupid” and “ignorance” to describe them.

    Oh, and, BTW: italics are for scientific names, not for tiny degrees of emphasis.

  17. Dahan says

    You win, couldn’t make it through. I had it figured out by…oh, say the 3rd paragraph, what he was aiming to say (even with the lack of lucidity). That you even bothered to read the whole thing is a credit to you (unless you’re a masochist, in which case its just your nature).

  18. Melissa G says

    I think I’ve proven the existence of the supernatural– I cannot possibly still be alive to type this comment, having died of boredom after reading that letter. So I must be typing from beyond the grave. Look, I’ve proven it from an ontological perspective!

  19. Ken says

    He has his fact(s) exactly wrong. ‘Evolutionists’ and ‘Darwinists’ were far too slow in responding forcefully to the ‘Creationists’.

  20. says

    Well, at least it’s shorter than those teenagers’ Answers in Genesis essays I waded through this week, but he sure blows a lot of words around in his effort to make “exasperation” a problem for evolutionists. I think the well-documented intellectual dishonesty of the IDists is quite enough to explain why evolutionists are fed up with them. We don’t have to search for some subtle evolutionary trait.

  21. kristen in montreal says

    “Oh, and, BTW: italics are for scientific names, not for tiny degrees of emphasis.”

    Kristen smirks, and looks around at the sea of italics above this comment. *Palm2Forehead*

  22. says

    For this there is no ex hypothesi justification since wrongness is merely a first person ontological standpoint that can never live up to the reality of the universe. Furthermore, since absolutely nothing can ever be wrong it is clear that Mr Wood’s argument cannot be either. Q.E.D.

    But what if we have 2 different ontogenies? Will they recapitulate phylogeny? I.e.: will 2 wrongs make a right?

  23. Tom Buckner says

    Stanton sez:
    “This Robert Wood moron might as well argue about how it’s morally right to stone people who wear polyester to death: he couldn’t sound anymore pompous or ridiculous.”

    Morally right or not, I can remember a time when I would often be stoned and in those days I did indeed “wear polyester to death.” Live and learn.

  24. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Furthermore, I thought it not completely unreasonable: Mr Wood is merely trying to make the point that patience and politeness are a more effective strategy for debating than foaming at the mouth.

    No. He argues that if you are impatient or impolite, this proves that you are wrong.

    This leads straight to comments 23 and 26.

  25. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Furthermore, I thought it not completely unreasonable: Mr Wood is merely trying to make the point that patience and politeness are a more effective strategy for debating than foaming at the mouth.

    No. He argues that if you are impatient or impolite, this proves that you are wrong.

    This leads straight to comments 23 and 26.

  26. says

    He CC’ed this to other people or published it somewhere…? Seems weird to send an email to someone and call it an “open letter”

  27. says

    I apologize for not being able to finish either the letter or all the comments, but if you have to invoke an argument about the nature of knowledge, you are not a scientist. Ontology is interesting, but doesn’t help run a gel.

  28. says

    I’ve been wondering what I could respond to in order to get into the contest. This was perfect.

    You are beautiful when you are angry (and it has nothing to do with the fact that I find brainy, chubby men who are not overburdened with excessive youth to be massively attractive.) Such fabulous invective first thing in the morning was a wonderful thing to wake up to. I think it cleared my sinuses. Now for some coffee!

  29. says

    gravity denier

    Wow… It’d be hysterical to put up a website devoted to the topic and maybe a museum…

    There ARE pictures that show people not being affected by this supposed “gravity” – one common example is Saint Michael Jordan, who has performed miracles as documented in the testament of Beep Beep Roadrunner.

  30. says

    Poor guy… must have been traumatized by a roving gang of philosophy undergrads at some point in his life.

    I read it through all the hot air. If anybody is ever looking for a big dose of babbling woo-ziness, though, try this blog, written by a former professor of philosophy and solipsist of monumental proportions.

  31. Filll says

    A couple of points:

    *The theory of gravity is plenty controversial. Who told this guy it wasn’t? Has he talked to a physicist lately?

    *There are theories for why people believe nonsense like ID. Many of them involve evolutionary adaptation which now is creating unintended consequences.

    *Of course scientists get upset when someone appears to tell them “Your chosen profession is crap. Let us just destroy science for you”. Seems a bit ungrateful and hypocritical since they continue to enjoy the fruits of science…

    Anyone who doubts this is asked to remember what al-Ghazali did to Islamic science when he published “Incoherence of the Philosophers”; he sent the Muslim world back from being the most advanced on the planet to one of the most backward societies scientifically and technologically, where they have remained for the last 1000 years. And ID supporters and their friends the creationists will do the same to us, whether they intend to or not.

  32. says

    It’s sad when people try to formulate an evolutionary explanation for something that doesn’t need explaining. Science works because science works. How humans became scientists is an interesting question, but not “why do we believe in science”. We believe because it works, and it’s true.

  33. CalGeorge says

    There once was a doofus named Wood,
    Who thought Charles Darwin no good,
    He got all confused,
    And then he refused,
    To hit the “trash” button when he should.

  34. MK says

    {Mmmm-zzzzz-snort-zzzzzzzz-BONK!} “Ow!”

    OK, I now need a bandage for my forehead. Just dosed right off there!

  35. 386sx says

    “Oh, and, BTW: italics are for scientific names, not for tiny degrees of emphasis.”

    It’s okay. You can use them for both if you want. I mean it’s not like the italics police are going to come and get you.

  36. says

    When I first started reading here, I knew squat about Biology. But, at least I knew enough to say that the scientists have a genuine responsibility to be pissed since they do all the legwork and the wonked-out, gurgling creationists cherry pick and twist the results to pervert reality so as to accommodate their archaic philosophy.

    By the way, I didn’t make it too far through that letter. But, kudos to Mr. Wood for spelling your name right. That’s got to be a breath of fresh air.

  37. says

    I don’t know about you guys, but to me it looks like PZ forgot to stick a close tag on the italics. I’ll stick one in this post to see if that helps.

    Idiotic though this guy is, there is a good point in there somewhere: if we lose our rag at the IDiots’ wilful ignorance of biology, we’re letting our emotions rule us. A more helpful procedure would be to first consider how best we can clarify the situation to any innocent bystanders, and then lose our rag in the most productive fashion we can.

  38. Rose Colored Glasses says

    PZ, if you were intelligently designed, then wouldn’t your bullshit detector be infallible?

    I think this guy proves you’re right and he’s dead on his ass wrong.

  39. PuckishOne says

    I read 386sx @ #48 and could only think … “The! Italics! Police!” ;)

    Monty Python is really the only defense against something so ridiculous as that e-mail being inflicted upon one at a precaffeinated hour.

  40. says

    I trained a Markov-style text generation program on Wood’s email, and now I can generate as much as I like! And it’s just as readable.

    Dear Professor Paul Myers, when these intelligent design theorists? Since, in a fundamental sense, the truth of Darwin. The intelligent design are so aroused by the threat to Darwin sincere as they encounter them, there simply is no need to become dangerously engaged in the fierceness and intensity of this debate? Because it is inadequate as an outsider looking in, that to the scientist through the brilliant and truthful lens of Darwinian theory. Which means, if I don’t seek this causal antecedent, and simply plunge into the polemics of opposing intelligent design; how it feels to be a fervent believer in intelligent design is a scientific one; Darwin has already been proven right; therefore any dispute about this has to become dangerously engaged in his battle with his ignorant enemies, and it seems an indisputable fact to me, as an explanation for speciation than the theory of evolution to explain me, and therefore if you are going to come to your assistance: therefore, your first person ontology; the facts speak for themselves. Indeed, I would know: this issue is a scientific one; Darwin has already been proven right; therefore any dispute about this has to be an activity which warrants the support of reality, and since reality appears to corroborate their findings and observations, there simply is no need to rev up their first person ontology my subjective experience of how I feel and what this enables them to do what I cannot do for you. And that, at some point, is going to seek some explanation for how the different forms of life came into existence. If my best friend started to believe in a defensive or aggressive or outraged manner. They do not feel threatened by Darwin’s theory. As I said at the outset, Professor Myers, What is it within the individual human being with identical academic training, with identical knowledge of Darwin’s theory were an unqualified truth, the theory of evolution versus intelligent design have empirically discovered that defending intelligent design is a scientific one; Darwin has already been proven right; therefore any dispute about this matter. And right there, I would attempt to refute a theory which challenges the truth is not in doubt. And if Darwin’s theory as the best possible explanation for the existence and multiplicity of physical life is the significance of the issue, and was ignorant of the objective facts of the other side. Truth, after all, is unbiased. A proponent of intelligent design people start arguing against Darwin to defend Darwin will ITSELF become apparent to the scientist through the brilliant and truthful lens of Darwinian theory. Which means, if I become intellectually aggressive towards and contemptuous of these enemies of science they will be routed*, I am going to have to go it alone. I am ironically missing the whole point.

    The text generator speaks the truth!

  41. says

    Why is it that creationists take one of two tacks – they either use short sayings that completely lie about the subject, or they go for long convoluted writings that could be boiled down to a few words. Both seek to confuse and/or mask the real point. I figured out where he was going after the first couple paragraphs, and skipped the rest of the mind-numbing drivel. Congrats to anyone who actually read the whole thing.

  42. says

    I dare you — I double-dog dare you — to stay awake through the whole thing.

    Double dare? Can’t I just take the physical challenge?

  43. CalGeorge says

    As I said at the outset, Professor Myers, I would not want to unequivocally pronounce who is right and who is wrong in this debate, but I will say that, did I know nothing about the merits of the issue, and was ignorant of the arguments promulgated on both sides, I would, nevertheless, be persuaded that the theory of intelligent design must be a better explanation for speciation than the theory of evolution–and I think you know why.

    Yeah, I know why, it’s because you’re a stupid frigging idiot!

    We should all now dutifully apply Wood’s calmness test to any argument or theory we encounter:

    1) Carefully remain ignorant of the arguments promulgated by both sides.
    2) If someone tries to explain them to you, insert ear plugs.
    3) As the debate is proceeding, carefully judge the merits of each side based solely on the degree of calmness exhibited. Give each side a calmness score.
    4) In the case of a tie, that is, if both sides remain extremely calm or extremely angry, it may be necessary to flip a coin. That’s okay! They are probably both right!

  44. ctenotrish, FCD says

    Uugghh. Couldn’t read the whole thing, no way, now how. And did it come to you in blue? Why would someone write an email in blue? I would use blue for a party invitation, but that email was noooooo party. Uugghh.

  45. says

    Speaking as somebody who anguishes over his own prose, who has found himself in the middle of the sentence with multiple disclaimers for nuance and what not, I recognize some of Mr. Wood’s difficulties in (ahem) ‘framing’ his argument.

    So, I find myself vaguely sympathetic to all the apple-polishing up front, which is a horrifying comment on my own sense of style, in that I often find myself kvetching about the possibility that I might be needlessly giving offense.

    Anyway, I hit the snooze button around paragraph five and I hope that PZ doesn’t develop narcolepsy from reading the whole thing. God, I hope I never write anything that torpid.

  46. Chuck Morrison says

    That email sounds like the old guy from the Matrix. It’s just missing a “vis a vis” and “concordantly” here and there.

  47. Steve_C says

    I’m too experienced with these bullshit concern trolls who don’t bother to understand the science.

    I read the first and last paragraphs. I get too angry if I read the whole thing. I know I’ll never get that 10-15 minutes back.

    He’s a wanker.

  48. wildlifer says

    Man …. 3 cups of coffee later and I’m still not finished….. So I skipped to the end.

  49. BG says

    “It is of course a beautiful and brilliant theory, but it is being made to do the work of something that has to encompass the entire physical universe and all its details, and it seems an indisputable fact to me, as an outsider looking in, that to the extent to which it cannot rise to this challenge (in other words to the extent to which it is inadequate as an explanation for the existence and multiplicity of physical life) is the very extent to which in defending such a theory, the Darwinist has to become dangerously engaged in his first person ontology.”

    Holy frijoles, this is unbelievable. I wonder if that bad writing contest out at San Jose State U. (www.bulwer-lytton.com) accepts nominations, because this guy can shovel the turgid prose well.

  50. says

    But as a non-scientist…I have never considered myself competent…
    However, I do feel I have a firm grasp of the first person ontological domain of this controversy…

    Reminds me of the young fellow who bought the old trapper’s rights to trapping around Moosehead Lake. The old trapper told the fellow all the best places and secrets of setting the traps so he could have a bountiful catch. About a year later, they met again, and the old trapper asked the young fellow how successful his trapping was. “I didn’t catch a damn thing!” he responded. “Did you follow all my instructions?” the old trapper asked. “No, I thought up a better way,” the young fellow replied.

  51. Ken Mareld says

    Ugh, and double ugh. I just got off of a rough shift of taking vital signs, drawing blood and wiping butts. Yes, when you’re in the hospital, you too can have someone wipe your butt for you. George Bush? Colonoscopy? My mind drifts where it shouldn’t. Anyway, it is less unpleasant to wipe ten assess, than to try to get through that verbal crap. He spews more midden from his keyboard than I could ever wipe up in a shift. That was just way too much scat.

  52. True Bob says

    Okay, I tried, but couldn’t stand it. I quit after about 4 paragraphs. Now if it had been a triple dog dare…Oh who am I kidding. That was painful and I feel stupider for reading that much of it.

  53. JimV says

    A counter-example might help. I’ll try to brief.

    I was a design engineer for 30+ years in an old industrial business that was part of a large conglomerate. We made large, complex machines used in electrical power genetation, since the 1920’s. Another division of the conglomerate made similar devices based on a newer technology, since the 1950’s. There were similarities and differences between the devices and how they were manufactured, but one large difference was that the newer devices were standardized, like jet engines, whereas the older devices were specifically custom-designed for their operating environments. Thus, while they might design a new part on the order of one every three years or so, as their product evolved, we were designing and building 200-500 new parts per year.

    In the late 1990’s, the conglomerate high-level management decided we were too stodgy and set in our ways (or for whatever reason), and decided to purge our technical managers and bring in new technical leadership from the newer division. These were smart, capable people who doubtlessly had many past accomplishments in their division, but some of them, on seeing drawing of our parts, literally could not tell which end was up. This combined with a seemingly large amount of arrogance, led to many frustrations such as the following.

    A customer had one of our machines on forced-outage due to failure of a certain part. About fifteen of us were gathered in a conference room to discuss repair options, with a “Design Review Board” member from the other division listening in via a “squawk box”. One of us had an idea for redesigning the part in way such that we all agreed should help fix the problem. The DRB member berated us: “You’re talking about designing a new part. You don’t have drawings or manufacturing procedures or machine-tool tapes for that part. It will take you six months to make it, while the customer is on forced outage! The old part lasted for 18 months. It’s a no-brainer! Make another of the old parts from the existing drawings, install that, and have him shut down again in six months for the new part.”

    It took us two hours (30 man-hours during a crisis) to convince him that we knew what we were doing and how long it would take – or rather to let us go ahead anyway, under protest. In eleven days, the machine was running again with the new part designed, manufactured, and installed. For some years now, there has been no further problem with that part.

    In the interests of time I won’t cite many similar instances. We had the facts and experience on our side, yet at a certain level of frustration our “first-person ontologies” kicked in, and some of us were guilty of rudeness to our “superiors” (they were rude to us first, but that doesn’t count). I will admit that the rudeness probably made things worse instead of better, but it had no bearing on where the facts lay.

  54. Gabriel says

    I distinctly remember watching a TV show when I was a child that showed undeniable “evidence” of Santa Claus’s existence. And by that point, I thought that I had already gotten over believing in him. But the show did make me stop and rethink my decision to abandon my faith in the Jolly Elf. I, like many children growing up, got the mixed message that “imagination” and “belief” are interchangeable. As a kid, I would come up with (and believe!) all kinds of explanations as to how Santa could do everything that people I trusted and loved (parents, teachers, etc.) claimed that he did. Creationists and people like Mr. Wood are doing the same thing, with fancier words.

  55. says

    Someone I know and thought to be a theistic evolutionisto popped in on one of my angry little rants about creationist lies. I was talking about bald-faced creationist lies on radioactive dating – things like “coal shouldn’t have any C-14 in it but it does” when there’s always a baseline replenished by other decays, “this marine creature was dated at 30,000 years old” when its carbon supply was from limestone, not plants, as well as doing things like whole rock K-Ar dating without being sure to remove or account for unmelted (and thus dated much older) xenoliths.

    Liars and cheaters make me mad. Now that I know what tactics are used to deny things like radioactive dating, I know it to come from lying and cheating or relying on liars and cheaters.

    What Wood and others fail to grasp here is the difference between anger due to embarrassment (of the the lady doth protest too much kind) and anger due to the brazen comport of others (i.e. righteous anger).

    Back to the story, said TE was starting to say that some people had “overstated their cases” for “things like macroevolution”. Actually, I did calm down a little and explain things somewhat, because I love a teaching moment, but it seems that he might have also been taken in by that “they seem so mad, maybe they’re wrong” appearance.

    David M @ 28 -> Perhaps he meant ignorance to fall under the banner of perception, but perception can change far more quickly than ignorance, so you’re darned straight right about ignorance.

    Ignorance is really the crux of the explanation for many people… they don’t know enough about evolutionary theory to know why the ID representations of it are wrong, why the mathematical arguments against it are wrong, or why scientists have very good reasons to “believe” the overarching theory without there needing to be an article of faith, or why even though they quarrel about the details, that’s a good thing.

    It’s hard to know everything, true, but it’s not beyond the pale to know enough.

  56. Rey Fox says

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I like a little well-honed passion and even anger in advocacy writing. Makes me think the person really cares and isn’t just trying to bullshit me. Mr. Wood’s e-mail doesn’t pass the BS filter. When you try to examine two sides of an issue without paying one whit of attention to the relevant facts (you know, things like fossils and DNA and such), then you’ve sealed your fate.

    We’d all love for the truth of our words to shine like a beacon from us and let all who see the light know the Lord…er, I mean the science. But in Real Life, it doesn’t work out that well. And we all get punchy from having to kick against the pricks all the time. And our message doesn’t quite have the primal persuasion of “We were all made by Big Cosmic Daddy who wuvs us THIS much!”, so it shouldn’t be surprising that we should have to raise our voices occasionally.

    (OH, but yelling at people will only marginalize us, like O’Reilly and Hannity. Nobody takes THEM seriously.)

    And finally, let’s all remember, if there was any reason for us to forget, that those serenely calm, truth-shining-like-a-beacon folks on the ID side are also making a little whine-all movie called Expelled. ‘Nuff said.

  57. says

    @ #26:

    PZ, Quick – send this message to Social Text.

    QFT. All Mr. Wood needs to do is throw in the words “hermeneutical” and “patriarchal” and he’s sure to make the front cover.

    @#34

    But what if we have 2 different ontogenies? Will they recapitulate phylogeny? I.e.: will 2 wrongs make a right?

    I think, in this case, Mr. Wood’s ontology recapitulates his philology instead.

  58. raven says

    Sign of crackpottery. By someone whose brain isn’t working as well as it should.

    They take pages and pages to explain a simple idea that should take 3 sentences.

    When I see that, it is best to just skip over it, secure in the knowledge that nothing important will be missed.

  59. Wicked Lad says

    PZ:

    There’s a simple reason why biologists get pissed off with creationists, and it has nothing to do with a “first person ontology” — it’s that we have the hard work, the data, the experiments, the whole dang enchilada of the “objective facts of the matter,” and pretentious pissants like Mr Wood think nothing of overlooking their own self-admitted ignorance of evolution to pronounce a verdict based entirely on their half-assed psychoanalysis of the universe.

    Stanton (#25):

    …Intelligent Design proponents have a) not bothered to do any science, b) are pushing an agenda to fatally wreck the educational system of the country, c) not bothered to do any science, d) can not truthfully explain anything with or about Intelligent Design “theory,” and most importantly, e) not bothered to do any science.

    Brilliant. Noted. Bookmarked. This is going to come in handy again and again and again.

  60. FrumiousBandersnark says

    Oh, my head. His “first person ontology” was more like an exercise in “first person oncology.” At first it’s just one bad expression, but then there’s another, and another, and it just keeps growing and growing … more goddogma, amateurishly cloaked in pretentious and misleading language.

    Mr. Wood: If there are legitimate scientists who favor Intelligent Design as the mechanism by which life develops, they should conduct research and publish the results in a scientific journal for peer critique and review. That is how ID will gain acceptance in the scientific community: not by textbook stickers, manipulations of the school board, or publication of position statements, but by real, verifiable, demonstrable evidence.

    To the best of my knowledge, no such paper has ever been presented. ID has not provided a single bit of data to the life sciences, or any other branch of scientific study, in support of its position. Mostly, it has generated personal attacks, spurious comparisons to Nazism, and other fallacious arguments that cannot withstand basic logical scrutiny. ID is hardly a threat to science.

    However, ID is a threat to reason and common sense. ID proposes that we should accept at face value a proposition for which there is no supporting evidence, that, in essence, we should make an “leap of faith” on the assumption that it might be true because somebody said so.

    In effect, ID proposes that faith is superior to reason; that faith should be taught alongside the scientific method as an equally valid alternative mechanism for understanding our world; that faith is the decision-making process we should employ when deciding what is true and what is false.

    Such a proposition is hostile to a democratic political system and to academic inquiry and progress. Lacking such mechanisms, unquestioning acceptance and uncritical beliefs flourish. Mobs rule. Tyrants emerge. Civil war occurs, and finally, an empire is established, and then falls into ruin. History shows this over and over again.

    What you take as a hostile attack by science is, in fact, a vigorous and uncompromising defense of the freedom to explore and investigate wherever the evidence leads (thus far, NOT in your direction), and for the right of people everywhere to ask questions and learn, rather than blindly obey.

  61. Roger says

    A Response to Robert Wood

    Mr. Wood,

    In your letter to P.Z. Myers, posted on his blog Pharyngula you stated that

    “I remain absolutely willing to be convinced of the scientific adequacy of the theory of evolution to explain the phenomenon of speciation.”

    If this is the truth of the matter, then I would highly recommend that you point your browser to Talk Origins. Here you will find knowledge regarding evolution and it’s accompanying theories aimed squarely at the interested layperson. Additionally, you will find citations and links that allow you to follow the science in its original form.

    I must admit to failing to conjure up much sympathy regarding your claim

    “…as a non-scientist (and someone who always felt he was in a foreign land when studying science in high school) I have never considered myself competent to judge the arguments on both sides of the controversy: evolution versus intelligent design.”

    This is entirely your own fault and no one else’s. It is simple enough to ask a leading scientist where to start. They all have email addresses. Email several of them with a simple question explaining your ignorance and asking them their opinion as to where to start in your endeavor for knowledge. Not all of them will answer you, some won’t have time, others have aggressive spam filters, some might think that you’re baiting them.

    Your claim of feeling as if you were “in a foreign land” with regards to science class seems, well, disingenuous; you are familiar enough with the educational process to be able to understand and use words like ‘domain’ and ‘antecedent’ to be able to easily comprehend what is taught to you in a science classroom, especially one like a basic Biology 101 course where you’re not going to often encounter words like ‘derivative’ and ‘partial differentiation’. The impression that I have received from your letter is that you genuinely do not wish to know. I would find it wonderful if you were to disabuse me of that notion.

    Roger.

  62. flame821 says

    #12
    Are there any examples of people who took up with ID whilst they were atheists and still are atheists, or (more logically) only subsequently converted to a religion?; as opposed to people who were religious with a brand of religion which dogmatically requires some form of creationism, and who also subscribe to ID? I very much doubt it

    The closest I’ve seen to this is a few friends who accept and agree with Evolution but cannot ‘jive’ it with how the universe and life began. Their views are ‘God (or a god-like figure) set it all in motion (big bang) and then moved on’

    bit of a cop out in my book, but they are rather reasonable people outside of that.

  63. flame821 says

    As for scientists and science minded people becoming upset by the lies spewed by IDers and creationists….

    If I know they won’t listen to reason, evidence and logic then I handle them the same way I handle a flasher –

    point and laugh as I walk away

  64. says

    OK, I like the author of this e-mail am not schooled in the sciences as you and your many readers. However, I’m smart enough to see through bullshit such as Mr. Wood’s silly argument! No amount of vocabulary will make up for Mr. Wood’s ignorance. One doesn’t need to be an actual scientist to understand how evolution trumps ID on every level. Common sense, and comprehension skills will suffice!

  65. says

    I might add that although philosophy has squishier technical vocabulary than at least the natural sciences, it does have something like one. This guy is throwing around philosophy terminology in (apparently) an attempt to be erudite. But all he seems to be saying is that “you should understand the motivations of the IDers”, which is sensible advice, but banal.

  66. windy says

    The intelligent design people, on the other hand, find that, in their honest contact with the scientific facts as they encounter them, there simply is no need to rev up their first person ontology; the facts speak for themselves.

    Those farting noises in the Judge Jones piece sure sounded like someone got a bit “revved up”… Or was it just the “facts” “speaking”?

  67. Toni Petrina says

    So, simply because one fights for something implies that the other side is right?

  68. Gelf says

    Now don’t take it out on philosophy that this particular correspondent is a total nutter.

    “First-person ontology” is a perfectly serviceable term of art that just happens to mean nothing at all like what Mr. Wood seems to think it does.

    I suppose it’s a sign of “dangerous engagement in my own first-person ontology” (whatever that might mean) if I observe that the esteemed gentleman has read far too much John Searle and understood far too little.

  69. ckerst says

    What is it within the individual human being (with identical academic training, with identical knowledge of Darwin’s theory as the Darwinist) which makes him attempt to refute a theory which, as almost every scientist knows, is almost as respectable and uncontroversial as the Theory of Gravity?
    ********************************
    It’s called being a moron.

  70. Lindsey says

    I’m not sure where Mr. Wood got the idea that IDers were not passionate/arumentative, etc. I don’t know any scientists that go door to door reciting The Descent of Man, nor do I know any that go to poor countries, bringing aid and supplies under the guise of promoting the theory of evolution… Become a Darwininst or you’re not getting your damn well!

  71. says

    It’s a new tactic: send us long, ill-written, incoherent screeds which we will spend all our time reading, answering and commenting on instead of doing evolution.

  72. Unstable Isotope says

    What happens if I put italics in my comment? Do I get double italics?

    Anyway, that letter reminds me of when I was a grad student TA. There was always students who didn’t know that answer to a question but would write an essay that made absolutely no sense. I guess Mr. Wood follows that old axiom – if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

  73. Rey Fox says

    Oh oh ohhh and then there’s:

    “It is of course a beautiful and brilliant theory, but it is being made to do the work of something that has to encompass the entire physical universe and all its details”

    It is emphatically always the creationists who are conflating evolution with cosmology and geology (and everything else). Their BS is one-size-fits-all.

    (I sure miss being able to emphasize with italics. Oddly enough, I opened this page in an IE tab and it looked fine.)

  74. Chris Crawford says

    I am disturbed by the verbal abuse heaped upon those who deny evolution. Yes, they are wrong, and yes, many engage in dishonesty. However, merely dismissing them as evil does nothing to help understand the problem. I strongly urge everybody here to read Bob Altemeyer’s online book, The Authoritarians. This guy has really nailed down the mentality of these people. For our purposes here, the key idea is that they base their thinking on authority rather than logic. There is no point in debating them because argumentation is not a logical process in their minds. Their foundation is the Bible; everything else is just commentary.

    Yes, these people are dangerous. Yes, they must be stopped from destroying our civilization. But name-calling won’t accomplish anything, and DOES make us look childish. Let’s understand them and respond making use of that knowledge. Calling them names is like raising your voice at a foreigner who doesn’t understand your language.

  75. Neil says

    I actually read the whole thing. I understand what he was trying to say-as others have pointed out, it becomes obvious pretty quickly. He’s using a painfully verbose version of the old third grade logic: I can call you any name I want, and you won’t get mad unless it’s true! At least he does admit that using reason and evaluating evidence are beyond him.
    Perhaps he thought he could get your attention or respect by seeming honest and admitting his ignorance, but there is a flaw in his reasoning. By using only peoples’ reactions to contrary positions as his measuring stick of correctness, he is asking you to believe that he has gone his whole life without ever having heard of LYING!

    Is it just me, or is the whole business of lying for jesus at an all time high? I see it all the time, even when I’m not visiting heathen biologists’ websites!

  76. zohn says

    Half-way through the comments list I got eye-strain reading so much in italics…I’ll return here only after the italics bug is corrected.

    :-(.

  77. neotoma says

    I see that Mr. Wood has cribbed his debating style from Anti-Feminist Bingo. The accusation of being overly emotional about the subject is a nice touch.

  78. Just Al says

    Hmmmm, okay, let’s see if we can edit this letter down a little for space – we need room for Broom Hilda:

    “I have not bothered myself to learn facts, and remain obstinate that I will never do so.

    But the facts stand for themselves, right? So ignoring them is okay. Therefore, it is physically impossible for anyone to make incorrect statements – the facts will prevent this.

    Those who maintain that people are making incorrect statements thus must be wrong themselves. Ipso facto, quod erat demonstrandum, and illic est Sciurus carolinensis in meus pardus*.

    It doesn’t matter that the reasoning is circular and cancels itself out. Nor does it matter that my long-winded argument, by my own reasoning, falsifies my own statements, I can’t hear you, LA LA LA LA LA LA….

    Sincerely, Robert Wood”

    What’s amusing about this is, in a way, he is correct: No one’s argument changes facts, no matter how vehemently stated, nor how much you avoid them (and then maintain that you know something about them anyway). Despite the Robert Woods and other dipshits of this world, evolution goes right on anyway. That is not the issue, but comprehension is not Robert’s strong point. The issue is in attempting to educate people with total nonsense, rather than relying on facts. And the long and short of it all is, too few people (Robert proudly including himself in this category, to my great amusement) bother to learn the facts, but still attempt to tell others how the world is. Education primarily comes from others, and rightfully so – few have the time to duplicate every experiment and discovery on their own. But we do have an obligation to see that education is done by those who rely on facts, not wishful thinking or circular philosophical meanderings by the profoundly ignorant.

    Not to mention, the Discovery Institute, and lots and lots of churches, seem to be making a whole lot of arguments to prove their point. Why don’t they simply sit back and let the facts speak for themselves, Robert?

    A quick exercise for you: Should someone come up to you with a weapon and demand that you hand over your money, simply cross your arms and smile smugly at him. It is not his money and the facts are on your side – further argument or actions are merely demonstrations of insecurity and thus wrongness. Let us know how it goes (this may require specific instructions to your next of kin).

    Cheers!

    – Just Al

    * Okay, it doesn’t translate backwards so well, but this is intended to mean, “I have a squirrel in my pants”

  79. baryogenesis says

    I think sailor (#13) and ams (#59) got it right. A couple of paragraphs into his letter I thought of many wasted evenings years ago thinking you could empathize so completely with someone and get into their head and in the morning realize you were just stoned. But that’s being kind and giving Mr. Wood an out. It really is a transparent attempt to appear objective, yet having other “designs”.

  80. woozy says

    I *do* try to bend over backwords to try to understand other people’s points of view. But is it so hard to comprehend anger at persistant stupidity? Mr. Wood pompously asks “Have the Darwinists (like yourself) ever wondered what is the evolutionary origin of the vehemence and passion with which you defend Darwin?” and then immediately accurately describes how nearly all scientists feel “Personally, were I a true believer in Darwin, I would know: this issue is a scientific one; Darwin has already been proven right;”. And then in the very next clause answers his question as to why Darwinists are so angry: “therefore any dispute about this has to be explained by some failure of perception, objectivity, or courage on the other side“.

    What is saw difficult to understand about the righteous anger that would arise?

    I remember discussing grammar and whether it is grammatically correct to say “Jane went to the store with she and I” or “Jane went to the store with her and me”? My girlfriend thought the former sounded classy. I argued first that 1) She and I are nominative and used when subject of a sentence (which in this case they clearly are not) while her and me were were objective and used when they are either being acted upon or are supplimenting the statement (as they clearly are in this case) and 2) if it were just one person, one would never say “Jane went to the store with she” or “Jane went to the store with I” so there’s no reason to change just because there are two people and 3) here is your copy of Elements of Style and it says right here the exact same things I said only better. Her response to my intelligent and irrefutable arguments? “I’ll ask me friend Courtney and I’ll do what she says. She’s from England and has excellent taste in clothes”.

    Is my reaction of utterly confounded anger so hard to comprehend?

  81. Benjamin Franz says

    It’s the length of his sentences that makes it unreadable. I pasted the first couple of pages into a reading level calculator and he is running more than 35 words per sentence.

    I wonder if I could manage to paraphrase what he wrote into something actually comprehensible (why not? I’m bored…)

    PZ,

    I have an open mind about evolution.

    I’m not a scientist. And I’m not competent to judge the actual science.

    But I think I understand the mindsets of both Darwinists and IDers.

    So, my (rhetorical) question is: Why are scientists so passionate in defending Darwinism? Clearly more so than IDers are in defending Intelligent Design? Where does this fierceness come from? If I were a true believer in Darwinism, I would know that the other side must be mistaken.

    An IDer must have some failing that makes them unable to ‘see’ the truth of Darwinian theory. So, what is this failing? So I can counter it?

    If I had a friend who ‘converted’ to ID, I would want to know “Why?” What would make him reject a theory that is just as respected as the theory of Gravity?

    Ok. That’s the point where he really goes off the rails and asserts that Darwinists just make personal attacks instead attacking the evidence. It’s a semi-clever rhetorical trick buried in the word soup. He then turns around and says that IDers don’t attack the opposition personally but just engage in staid upright scientific debate of the evidence.

    He then makes the meta-argument that since IDers seem to be doing science, while Darwinists are just making Ad Hominem attacks on IDers, the IDers are much more convincing. So to convince him (Robert Wood) to believe in Darwinism, PZ will have to overcome the reality that ID is true and Darwinism isn’t.

    “Ta da.”

  82. CortxVortx says

    … ontological …

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    — CV

  83. BaldApe says

    OK, so “Darwinists” get upset because, as others have said, biologists have done all this work that the ignorant ignore. Somehow, that means they don’t pay any attention to evidence?

    Uh, could it be that the reason for the apparently rational language of the ID proponents (whom Wood claims are not creationists- yeah, sure) is to disguise their real motives and get this crap past some Bush appointed judge?

    This is interesting. I put italics tags at the beginning of the first paragraph, and at the end of the second, and the preview shows italics in the first paragraph, but not the second. I added this after viewing the preview.

  84. Chris Crawford says

    Woozy writes:

    “What is saw difficult to understand about the righteous anger that would arise?”

    “Is my reaction of utterly confounded anger so hard to comprehend?”

    No, anger is easy to comprehend — but that doesn’t render it any less counterproductive. Getting mad at somebody never solves anything and almost always makes matters worse.

  85. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Anyone who doubts this is asked to remember what al-Ghazali did to Islamic science when he published “Incoherence of the Philosophers”;

    I thought it was called “The Refutation of the Philosophers”? Or am I confusing al-Ghazali with someone else?

    Anyway, as a reply to “The Refutation of the Philosophers”, someone published “The Refutation of the Refutation”, which made the ingenious point that if you argue against reason (as al-Ghazali did) using reason, you contradict yourself, while if you argue against reason without using reason, you are unreasonable.

    BTW, what italics bug? All I see in italics that may not be supposed to be so is PZ’s first paragraph after the e-mail, the comment numbers, and the “Anti-italics post!”. I’m using IE7. I guess Microsoft pwns you all.

  86. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Anyone who doubts this is asked to remember what al-Ghazali did to Islamic science when he published “Incoherence of the Philosophers”;

    I thought it was called “The Refutation of the Philosophers”? Or am I confusing al-Ghazali with someone else?

    Anyway, as a reply to “The Refutation of the Philosophers”, someone published “The Refutation of the Refutation”, which made the ingenious point that if you argue against reason (as al-Ghazali did) using reason, you contradict yourself, while if you argue against reason without using reason, you are unreasonable.

    BTW, what italics bug? All I see in italics that may not be supposed to be so is PZ’s first paragraph after the e-mail, the comment numbers, and the “Anti-italics post!”. I’m using IE7. I guess Microsoft pwns you all.

  87. David Marjanovi─ç says

    I remember discussing grammar and whether it is grammatically correct to say “Jane went to the store with she and I” or “Jane went to the store with her and me”?

    A baffling number of English speakers seems to be developing two new grammatical rules: 1) “and” requires the nominative; 2) “and” trumps “with”. Much (mainly virtual) ink has been (cyber-)spilled on this phenomenon by professional linguists. I don’t think it’s going away. Maybe English is on a slippery slope towards Chinese (which distinguishes “cases” only by word order — word order already does most of this task in English).

  88. David Marjanovi─ç says

    I remember discussing grammar and whether it is grammatically correct to say “Jane went to the store with she and I” or “Jane went to the store with her and me”?

    A baffling number of English speakers seems to be developing two new grammatical rules: 1) “and” requires the nominative; 2) “and” trumps “with”. Much (mainly virtual) ink has been (cyber-)spilled on this phenomenon by professional linguists. I don’t think it’s going away. Maybe English is on a slippery slope towards Chinese (which distinguishes “cases” only by word order — word order already does most of this task in English).

  89. Chuck says

    If that guy had broken up his sentences into readable statements (I won’t say they could be converted into lucid thoughts) and posted each as a comment, he would surely win the 500,000 comment contest.

  90. Stephen Wells says

    playing with the typography is more interesting than dealing with this incredibly boring argument.

  91. woozy says

    A baffling number of English speakers seems to be developing two new grammatical rules: 1) “and” requires the nominative; 2) “and” trumps “with”

    Well, what makes me angry about this is very similar to what makes me angry about creationism and ID. The “correct” grammar or scientific theory is very clearly established and really not that hard (hard, in the sense of understanding and accepting; not hard as in actually doing the research) but the “between you and I”er and the IDer go out of their way to be wrong and deliberately choose ignornance and stupidity over knowledge and intelligence.

    The “between you and I” phenomena derives directly from the “Tim and me are going to the store”. As children we react with the objective case intuitively. “Who is my favorite boy?” “Me” “Who gave you the cake” “Her” So when one doesn’t give it thought (“‘me is your favorite boy’ and ‘her gave me the cake’ don’t sound right!”) one will tend to say “Tim and me are going to the store”. *THEN* we learn that “Tim and me” is dead wrong and paints us flaggerantly as ignorant uneducated boobs we are so scared that we’ll *never* do that again. So we think “Do you want to go to the store with Tim and me? *NO!!!* Don’t say ‘Tim and me’ say ‘Tim and I'” What bugs me is that we had a very simple lesson (Don’t say “me went to the store”) but instead of learning to be write we chose to learn to be wrong on purpose when normally we would have been right.

  92. ontologically the poster who signs himself as woozy says

    I never read anything past the word “ontological”. It has a 100% track record of preceding nonsense.

    I don’t know. I first came across the word in an advanced Logic philosophy course. I’ve seldom needed to use the word but the concept has helped me from falling for the “Let’s define the basic force behind the universe, X, or, say… why don’t we call it ‘God'” or “let x be the largest prime number” arguments.

    Of course, Mr. Wood uses it more as a giant club to bore us to death.

  93. Owlmirror says

    I thought it was called “The Refutation of the Philosophers”? Or am I confusing al-Ghazali with someone else?

    Possibly. Jennifer Hecht’s Doubt (which covers a lot of philosophical history) says that it was indeed “The Incoherence of the Philosophers“. Hm. Wikipedia concurs with this translation of the title, as does a quick Google.

    Anyway, as a reply to “The Refutation of the Philosophers”, someone published “The Refutation of the Refutation”, which made the ingenious point that if you argue against reason (as al-Ghazali did) using reason, you contradict yourself, while if you argue against reason without using reason, you are unreasonable.

    The rebuttal was “The Incoherence of the Incoherence”, obviously, and the “someone” who wrote it was Abu Walid ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd, also known as Averro├źs.

    Quoting a bit from the text of Doubt (pg 237): “Another was a defense of rationalism, also essentially a counterattack on al-Ghazzali’s call for an end to philosophy. As Averro├źs saw it, the Koran had commanded “Reflect, you have vision” (Koran LIX, 2). Based on this, “we are under an obligation to carry on our study of beings by intellectual reasoning. It is further evident that this manner of study, to which the Law summons and urges, is the most perfect kind of study using the most perfect kind of reasoning; and this is the kind called ‘demonstration.’”

    There’s more in that vein, but the conclusion implies that the Muslim world simply did not follow Averro├źs, although he did influence Christian and Jewish thought.

    Also, Averro├źs may have brought his doom (of not influencing the Muslim world) down on himself, by being something of an intellectual elitist: “Averro├źs thought it best if those of middling intelligence did not know anything about philosophy” (pg 238, ibid). And like that.

  94. Owlmirror, leaning to the right. says

    trying to stop the run away italics.

    You can’t do that. The posting software, coded by an extremely clever person or group of people, parses the comment such that things like, oh, say, imbalanced tags, are removed. Presumably so that a typoing commenter won’t inadvertently cause following comments to be infected by an unclosed tag.

    Wasn’t that clever of them?

    But alas, the clever coders didn’t put any such measures into the code for posting actual posts. Because of course, posters never make typos or other errors. It just doesn’t happen. Physically and logically impossible.

    I suppose we could all just tilt our heads.

  95. says

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Haha, exactly! This guy could have cranked this one out of the postmodernist essay generator and I really wouldn’t be surprised.

  96. says

    It’s as if the guy learned the world ontology recently and wanted to show it off.

    It’s good to see PZ hasn’t lost his edge in the face of hardcore lawyering. Good show!

  97. John Phillips says

    Wow, was that painful, a much bettter, i.e. shorter version;

    Dear Professor Paul Myers,

    I am completely ignorant about the science and have no intention of rectifying that situation but I prefer the ID crowd because you lot sound so mean. Of course, I ignore it when the ID crowd sound mean or tell their lies as it is not really being mean, just putting you mean darwinists in your rightful place, so there. Lalalalalalalala……..

  98. CalGeorge says

    I get the first part:

    Angry evilutionists make Wood want to side – against his better judgment! – with the I.D. people.

    Then I get completely stuck:

    How really confident and certain can Paul Myers be about the Theory of Evolution if he ignores what it is that could be driving a person to oppose Darwin, and instead gets entirely wrapped up in the business of attacking intelligent design theorists?

    WTF is that about? I’ve read it six times and it makes no sense.

  99. says

    I couldn’t get past the “Dear”: The combination of the shade of blue used (why?) on the background PZ uses for quotes has rather poor contrast, making it very difficult to read. The other comments make clear I was right not to strain my eyes.

  100. jeff says

    “…what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul!” -Knibb High Principal -Billy Madison

  101. Espahan says

    I tip my beanie to you – for your patience, for actually reading and responding to such verbose drivel.

  102. Joshua says

    If you don’t argue against ID, they take the silence as a weakness in Darwinian evolution. If you do argue against ID, they take the arguing as a weakness in Darwinian evolution.

    You can’t win!

  103. Knight of L-sama says

    I made my way all through the mail (and regretted it) and I found it either 1) a gross abuse of post-modern analytic jargon or 2) yet more proof why post-modernists should not be allowed out of the Social Sciences building.

    And thanks for clearing up the italics issue. It was making my browser freeze up for some bizzare reason.

  104. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Well, what makes me angry about this is very similar to what makes me angry about creationism and ID. The “correct” grammar or scientific theory is very clearly established and really not that hard (hard, in the sense of understanding and accepting; not hard as in actually doing the research) but the “between you and I”er and the IDer go out of their way to be wrong and deliberately choose ignornance and stupidity over knowledge and intelligence.

    Come on! ID isn’t anyone’s mother tongue! Languages are conventions and habits, not laws of nature! Frankly, I’ve never seen such an extreme, and kooky, prescriptivist as you. If you don’t like the “you and I” construction, don’t use it; nobody forces you to use it, after all.

    As children we react with the objective case intuitively.

    If “we” are native speakers of English or French (dative).

    In German, this never happens. “It’s me” is completely counterintuitive to us poor people when we learn English. I have to conclude that the use of an objective case for emphasizing the nominative is a difference between English and French (and apparently Turkish…) on the one hand and German (and Russian, and many others…) on the other.

    And no, we don’t have “better” prescriptivists. We have fewer and milder ones, and the language is less standardized than English (despite the differences between the English-speaking countries).

    What bugs me is that we had a very simple lesson (Don’t say “me went to the store”)

    But, as you just explained, many people don’t find much wrong with that. They say “it’s me who went to the store” and answer “who went to the store?” with “me”. That’s why “you and I” has become a grammatical rule for some English speakers, but not for any German speakers. (In German we say “I am the one who went to the store” and answer “who went to the store” with “I”, no matter how loudly.)

    but instead of learning to be write we chose to learn to be wrong

    The Hartman-McKean-Skitt Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation states that any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror. B-)

    ———————

    The rebuttal was “The Incoherence of the Incoherence“, obviously, and the “someone” who wrote it was Abu Walid ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd, also known as Averro├źs.

    Oh! Looks like I came across another translation and have a really bad memory for famous people.

    Averro├źs thought it best if those of middling intelligence did not know anything about philosophy

    Aha.

    ———————–

    WTF is that about? I’ve read it six times and it makes no sense.

    It’s fairly simple. (I read German, I’m used to long sentences. :^) )

    – Something drives some people “to oppose Darwin” (poor Chuck).
    – PZ doesn’t know or care what that is. He doesn’t know or care why anyone supports ID.
    – In spite of this ignorance, he attacks ID with breathtaking fury.
    – This outrage masks his uncertainty. He doesn’t know why anyone is an IDiot, but instead of learning why — and in the process finally understanding the theory of evolution –, he prefers to dogmatically cling to evolution and attack the poor IDiots as heretics.
    – If he lacked that uncertainty, he wouldn’t get so emotional.

    Although not made explicit, the false premise that PZ knows less (!!!) about evolution than the IDiots do is obvious. It’s also clear that comment 136 is on to something.

    ————————

    And thanks for clearing up the italics issue. It was making my browser freeze up for some bizzare reason.

    Ha, ha! Microsoft ruuulz! IE7 cut off the italics after the first paragraph. After it, only the comment numbers were in italics, the rest of the page was normal. Take that, all you Firefox types! :-├× :-├× :-├× Now I see that PZ has fixed it: only “Somebody” is in italics anymore.

    (Now if only Microsoft Office for Mac weren’t so abysmally buggy and generally incapable…)

  105. David Marjanovi─ç says

    Well, what makes me angry about this is very similar to what makes me angry about creationism and ID. The “correct” grammar or scientific theory is very clearly established and really not that hard (hard, in the sense of understanding and accepting; not hard as in actually doing the research) but the “between you and I”er and the IDer go out of their way to be wrong and deliberately choose ignornance and stupidity over knowledge and intelligence.

    Come on! ID isn’t anyone’s mother tongue! Languages are conventions and habits, not laws of nature! Frankly, I’ve never seen such an extreme, and kooky, prescriptivist as you. If you don’t like the “you and I” construction, don’t use it; nobody forces you to use it, after all.

    As children we react with the objective case intuitively.

    If “we” are native speakers of English or French (dative).

    In German, this never happens. “It’s me” is completely counterintuitive to us poor people when we learn English. I have to conclude that the use of an objective case for emphasizing the nominative is a difference between English and French (and apparently Turkish…) on the one hand and German (and Russian, and many others…) on the other.

    And no, we don’t have “better” prescriptivists. We have fewer and milder ones, and the language is less standardized than English (despite the differences between the English-speaking countries).

    What bugs me is that we had a very simple lesson (Don’t say “me went to the store”)

    But, as you just explained, many people don’t find much wrong with that. They say “it’s me who went to the store” and answer “who went to the store?” with “me”. That’s why “you and I” has become a grammatical rule for some English speakers, but not for any German speakers. (In German we say “I am the one who went to the store” and answer “who went to the store” with “I”, no matter how loudly.)

    but instead of learning to be write we chose to learn to be wrong

    The Hartman-McKean-Skitt Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation states that any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror. B-)

    ———————

    The rebuttal was “The Incoherence of the Incoherence“, obviously, and the “someone” who wrote it was Abu Walid ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd, also known as Averro├źs.

    Oh! Looks like I came across another translation and have a really bad memory for famous people.

    Averro├źs thought it best if those of middling intelligence did not know anything about philosophy

    Aha.

    ———————–

    WTF is that about? I’ve read it six times and it makes no sense.

    It’s fairly simple. (I read German, I’m used to long sentences. :^) )

    – Something drives some people “to oppose Darwin” (poor Chuck).
    – PZ doesn’t know or care what that is. He doesn’t know or care why anyone supports ID.
    – In spite of this ignorance, he attacks ID with breathtaking fury.
    – This outrage masks his uncertainty. He doesn’t know why anyone is an IDiot, but instead of learning why — and in the process finally understanding the theory of evolution –, he prefers to dogmatically cling to evolution and attack the poor IDiots as heretics.
    – If he lacked that uncertainty, he wouldn’t get so emotional.

    Although not made explicit, the false premise that PZ knows less (!!!) about evolution than the IDiots do is obvious. It’s also clear that comment 136 is on to something.

    ————————

    And thanks for clearing up the italics issue. It was making my browser freeze up for some bizzare reason.

    Ha, ha! Microsoft ruuulz! IE7 cut off the italics after the first paragraph. After it, only the comment numbers were in italics, the rest of the page was normal. Take that, all you Firefox types! :-├× :-├× :-├× Now I see that PZ has fixed it: only “Somebody” is in italics anymore.

    (Now if only Microsoft Office for Mac weren’t so abysmally buggy and generally incapable…)

  106. Iain Walker says

    #137:

    yet more proof why post-modernists should not be allowed out of the Social Sciences building.

    Or better yet, not allowed into the Social Sciences building in the first place. The social sciences would be all the better for it. I suppose we could let them have a broom cupboard somewhere in the basement of the English Literature department, or is that being too generous?

  107. says

    Another take on Mr. Wood’s letter;

    Dear Dr. Myers;

    I have a hard time reading the manual for these computers, and I admit that I am computer illiterate. But these fellows over here tell me that if just do a few things here and a few things there and kind of tinker around with the program eventually it will work.

    But it never really does what I want it to do. When you tech support guys come down and tell people to Read the Fucking Manual it seems coarse (I know you have tried to tell them many times and they think it is a waste of time.) But these other guys are always so friendly to me and you tech support guys tend to get nasty when we don’t take the time to understand how to use the thing; I prefer to listen to them.

    If the computers work the way that the manual says, I am sure that we will get them to work the way we want but as long as you keep yelling at us to “RTFM!” I intend to stumble along and complain about you.

    I am sure that Corporate has some computer classes I could attend to learn more about how to use the computers, but I just can’t be bothered to take the time out of my busy schedule. I am too busy listening to the nice guys.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Wood

  108. says

    i did learn something from that; Pee-Zed’s real name is Paul, which is disappointing because i was hoping it stood for something Lovecraftian and terror-inspiring. you know, like Psichthyox-Zznaghtos Myers or something.

    Lepht

  109. Ryan says

    This email illustrates the problem I have with modern philosophy: they all think that Kant wrote lucidly.

  110. xebecs says

    “they seem so mad, maybe they’re wrong”

    This may be related to the stereotypical depictions of scientists, specifically the “ivory tower” and “mad” subtypes.

    Ivory tower scientists are supposed to be calm, cool and dispassionate. They are deemed authoratative to the extent that they conform to that stereotype.

    Mad scientists are frantic over the failure of stupid commoners to comprehend their (mad) brilliance. They are deemed dangerous and wrongheaded to the extent that they conform to that stereotype.

    In reality, scientists are people who take pride in their work, jump through hoops to adhere to a formal process, and dare to hope that occasionally their work will help make the world a better place. They become angry when their work is unfairly criticized, the formal process ignored, and the applicability of their work neglected.

  111. CalGeorge says

    Since Wood writes like a German, I’ve translated his letter into German on BabelFish:

    Lieber Professor Paul Myers, Ich bleibe absolut bereit, von der wissenschaftlichen Angemessenheit der Theorie der Entwicklung ├╝berzeugt zu werden, um das Ph├Ąnomen von speciation zu erkl├Ąren. Aber da ein Nichtwissenschaftler (und jemand, der immer ihm glaubte, war in einem fremden Land, wenn Wissenschaft in der High School studiert wird), ich mich nie kompetent, die Argumente auf beiden Seiten der Kontroverse zu beurteilen betrachtet habe: Entwicklung gegen intelligentes Design. Ich bedeute durch dieses, das, das ich nie erw├Ągen w├╝rde zu versuchen, um zu debattieren entweder sich oder z.B. Michael Behe. Jedoch glaube ich, da├č ich eine feste Reichweite des ontological Gebietes der ersten Person dieser Kontroverse habe: glaubt wie n├Ąmlich, was es, um ein harter Kern Darwinist in der Tat des Entgegensetzens des intelligenten Designs zu sein; wie es glaubt, um ein gl├╝hender Gl├Ąubiger in intelligentem zu sein, entwerfen Sie schwierig die G├╝ltigkeit von Theorie Darwins. Was bedeute ich durch dieses, ist Professor Myers, was ist die Bedeutung der Psychologie, die in Spiel in der Wildheit und in Intensit├Ąt dieser Debatte kommt? Weil sie zu jedermann auf der Hand liegt, das auf den Nebenerwerben steht (ohne ein schr├Ąges Einweg- oder das andere) die einzelne Wissenschaftler (und ich m├╝ssen sagen, da├č dieses auf der darwinistischen Seite ausgepr├Ągter ist) extrem stark ├╝ber diese Angelegenheit f├╝hlen. Und recht dort, m├Âchte ich wissen: Haben Sie das Darwinists (wie selbst) sich wunderte ├╝berhaupt, was der Entwicklungsursprung der Vehemenz und Neigung ist, mit denen Sie Darwin verteidigen? Pers├Ânlich waren I ein zutreffenden Gl├Ąubiger in Darwin, ich w├╝rde wissen: diese Ausgabe ist ein wissenschaftliches; Darwin ist bereits nach rechts nachgewiesen worden; folglich mu├č jede m├Âgliche Debatte ├╝ber dieses durch etwas Ausfall der Vorstellung, der Objektivit├Ąt oder des Mutes auf der anderen Seite erkl├Ąrt werden. Wahrheit, ist schlie├člich unparteiisch. Ein Antragsteller des intelligenten Designs (ich spreche als Darwinist hier), mu├č etwas Kapazit├Ąt zum ` ermangeln sehen ‘ biologische Wirklichkeit w├Ąhrend es unschuldig und sich darstellt nachdr├╝cklich dem Wissenschaftler durch das leuchtende und truthful Objektiv der darwinistischen Theorie. Welches bedeutet, wenn ich intelligentem Design entgegensetzen werde, bin ich erster von ganz gehen, zu suchen etwas Erkl├Ąrung f├╝r, warum jemand (besonders ein Wissenschaftler) an intelligentes Design vielleicht glauben k├Ânnte, wenn ich wei├č, da├č eine lediglich selbstlose und unparteiische Betrachtung der Tatsachen darwinistische Theorie unwiderstehlich als die bestm├Âgliche Erkl├Ąrung bildet f├╝r, wie die unterschiedlichen Formen des Lebens in Bestehen kamen. Zu wenn wurde mein bester Freund, der begonnen wurde, um an intelligentes zu glauben entwerfen-und gegen├╝ber Darwin kritisch — ich w├╝rde wissen wollen, was ist es, da├č ich in meinem Freund auskenne pers├Ânlich, der ihn veranlagt an solch eine Theorie w├╝rde glauben lassen, wenn sie auf der Hand liegt, wenn er vollst├Ąndig objektiv war (da ich kenne ihn, um zum Sein in anderen Bereichen seines intellektuellen Lebens f├Ąhig zu sein), w├╝rde er, wie unm├Âglich es, in aller guten wissenschaftlichen Gewissenhaftigkeit ist, glaubt an eine Theorie sehen, die die Wahrheit von Darwin herausfordert. Das hei├čt, Professor Myers, was ist sie innerhalb des einzelnen Mensch Wesens (mit identischem akademischem Training, mit identischem Wissen von Theorie Darwins als dem Darwinist) das ihn Versuch bildet, eine Theorie zu widerlegen, die, als fast jeder Wissenschaftler wei├č, ist fast so beachtlich und uncontroversial wie die Theorie von Schwerkraft? Aber nicht nur dieses: Ich w├╝rde versuchen, genau zu beobachten und zu ermitteln, was es innerhalb dieser Person ist, die anf├Ąngt, sich auszudr├╝cken (das etwas Richtung ist abnormal: — irgendeine Version von W├╝nschenerf├╝llung? ist) wenn dieses Thema der Entwicklung gegen intelligentes Design oben kommt. Ich m├Âchte sehen, was in der Person ausgel├Âst erh├Ąlt, die an intelligentes Design so glaubt, da├č ich den psychologischen oder metaphysischen Moment sehen kann, als sie anfangen, den Effekt von betrogen werden zu verk├╝nden. Jetzt, wenn ich nicht diese verursachende Vorgeschichte suche und tauchen Sie einfach in die Polemik des Entgegensetzens des intelligenten Designs (und seiner Verfechter) und denken da├č, wenn ich von diesen Feinden der Wissenschaft intellektuell konkurrenzf├Ąhig in Richtung zu und ver├Ąchtlich werde, die sie verlegt werden *, vermisse ich ironisch den vollst├Ąndigen Punkt. Weil, werden Professor Myers, die Mittel, die ich innerhalb meines ersten Person ontology (meine subjektive Erfahrung von, wie ich glaube und was es ich sein soll, Paul Myers, wenn Anfang dieser der intelligente Designwie leute, der gegen Darwin argumentiert) beschlie├če Darwin Willen SELBST zu verteidigen, zur Opposition offensichtlich. Wie wirklich ├╝berzeugt und sicher kann Paul Myers ├╝ber die Theorie der Entwicklung, wenn sein er ignoriert, was es das k├Ânnte eine Person fahren, um Darwin entgegenzusetzen ist, und erh├Ąlt anstatt v├Âllig oben aufgewickelt im Gesch├Ąft des Angreifens der intelligenten Designtheoretiker? Da, in einer grundlegenden Richtung, die Wahrheit nicht innen Zweifel ist. Und wenn das k├Ârperliche Universum sprechen k├Ânnte, w├╝rde sie uns dieses erkl├Ąren. Kommt jetzt meine Hauptbeobachtung. Sie ist diese: In meinem Messwert dieser Debatte w├╝rde es scheinen, da├č die Leute, die f├╝r die G├╝ltigkeit des intelligenten Designs argumentieren, so ├╝berzeugt sind und vertrauend auf die Wahrheit ihrer Theorie, da├č sie das subjektive vermeiden (wir sprechen nicht ├╝ber creationists hier) und was dieses ihnen erm├Âglicht, zu tun, sollen die Verzweiflung der anderen Seite in einem ontological Standpunkt der ersten Person ausgedr├╝ckt sehen. Dieses ist DIE ernsteste Schw├Ąche, es, in den festen Gl├Ąubigern in Darwin so unbewu├čt auch sein mu├č, da├č sie sind, also geweckt durch die Drohung zu Darwin (aufrichtig, w├Ąhrend sie ohne Zweifel denken, sind sie, da├č Darwin recht ist, da├č intelligentes Design eine t├Âdliche Projektion ist), diesem ├╝ben sie wenig oder keine Steuerung ├╝ber der Angelegenheit von aus, wie sie in ihrer leidenschaftlichen Verteidigung von Darwin erscheinen. Die intelligenten Designleute, auf der anderen Hand, finden, da├č, in ihrem ehrlichen Kontakt mit den wissenschaftlichen Tatsachen, w├Ąhrend sie sie antreffen, es einfach keine Notwendigkeit Umdr. herauf ihr erstes Person ontology gibt; die Tatsachen sprechen f├╝r selbst. In der Tat w├╝rde ich viel weiter als dieses gehen: die wirklichen Gl├Ąubiger im intelligenten Design haben empirisch entdeckt, da├č verteidigendes intelligentes Design scheint, eine T├Ątigkeit zu sein, die die Unterst├╝tzung der Wirklichkeit gew├Ąhrleistet, und da Wirklichkeit scheint, ihre Entdeckungen und Beobachtungen zu bekr├Ąftigen, gibt es einfach keine Notwendigkeit, durch ihre erste Person, ontology-da├č zu sagen ist, in einer defensiven oder konkurrenzf├Ąhigen oder verletzten Weise entschlossen zu werden. Sie glauben nicht durch Theorie Darwins bedroht. Wie ich am Anfang, Professor Myers sagte, w├╝rde ich nicht unmi├čverst├Ąndlich aussprechen wollen, wem recht ist und wem in dieser Debatte falsch ist, aber ich sage den, ich wu├čte nichts ├╝ber die Verdienste der Ausgabe, und war unwissend von den Argumenten, die auf beiden Seiten verk├╝ndet werden, ich w├╝rde dennoch ├╝berzeugt, da├č die Theorie des intelligenten Designs eine bessere Erkl├Ąrung f├╝r speciation, als sein mu├č die Theorie von Entwicklung-und ich denken, da├č Sie warum wissen. Weil, ich beobachten w├╝rde, da├č das Darwinists (in den meisten F├Ąllen) in ihrem Verhalten eine fast ontological Ermittlung zeigen, da├č intelligentes Design das falsches und Darwin Recht sein mu├č, das von den objektiven Tatsachen der Angelegenheit v├Âllig unabh├Ąngig ist. Zweifellos ist dieses, wie das meiste Darwinists angesichts der Herausforderung des intelligenten Designs fungieren. Und wenn Theorie Darwins eine unqualifizierte Wahrheit waren, w├╝rde die Theorie selbst implizit dort das Darwinist in seiner Schlacht mit seinen unwissenden Feinden st├╝tzen, und es w├╝rde der intelligente Designf├╝rsprecher sein, der das ex hypothesi sein w├╝rde, das als das Darwinists fungieren dient jetzt. , extrem gerade zu sein, Professor Myers, w├╝rde ich sagen, da├č die Intoleranz und die Feindseligkeit des Darwinists zum intelligenten Design Beweis von ist, gerade wie schlie├člich (und tats├Ąchlich) Theorie schwachen Darwins ist. Es ist selbstverst├Ąndlich eine sch├Âne und leuchtende Theorie, aber es wird gebildet, um die Arbeit von etwas zu erledigen, das das gesamte k├Ârperliche Universum und alle seine Details umgeben mu├č, und es scheint eine unbestreitbare Tatsache mir, als Au├čenseiter, der innen schaut, den im Umfang, in dem sie nicht zu dieser Herausforderung steigen kann (mit anderen Worten im Umfang, in dem er als Erkl├Ąrung f├╝r das Bestehen und die Vielf├Ąltigkeit der wirtschaftlichen Nutzungsdauer ist), zu dem der Umfang unzul├Ąnglich ist, wenn er solch eine Theorie verteidigt, das Darwinist mu├č gef├Ąhrlich engagiert in seinem ersten Person ontology werden. Gef├Ąhrlich engagiert in der Richtung des Versuchens, eine Theorie passende Wirklichkeit zu bilden, w├Ąhrend die ganze Weilewirklichkeit ein Geheimnis hat: Darwin kann nicht mich erkl├Ąren, und folglich, wenn Sie Darwin einsetzen werden, um mich zu erkl├Ąren, werden Sie alleine gehen m├╝ssen es. Ich werde nicht zu Ihrer Unterst├╝tzung kommen: folglich mu├č Ihr erstes Person ontology tun, was ich nicht f├╝r Sie tun kann. Und das, an etwas Punkt, wird zu verletzen beginnen. Herzlichst. Robert Holz

    Much better!

  112. Mooser says

    What does “ontological” mean? I forgot, and it’s playing hell with my ability to follow the arguement.

  113. Gelf says

    David Marjanovi─ç:

    But, as you just explained, many people don’t find much wrong with that. They say “it’s me who went to the store” and answer “who went to the store?” with “me”.

    Increasingly off-topic, and not to introduce even more confusion into the proposition of English for non-native speakers, but technically speaking if someone does say “it’s me who went to the store,” then he does so wrongly.

    To make a confusing usage rule even more so, the copulative verb is not considered transitive in the usual sense, and so does not take an object. It takes the nominative instead. Accordingly, the correct usage would be “It is I who went to the store.” The verb is conjugated appropriately: “It is I who am going” instead of “It is I who is going.”

    With regard to answering simply “me” to a “who” question, I have no answer for you. I’m sure there is one, but I cannot guarantee it will make any sense. It suffices to say that English becomes irritatingly irregular around this area of usage. Perhaps at some point it was inconvenient to distinguish between “I” (self) and “aye” (affirmation), such as an answer to the question, “who here would like to tell us whether or not she is a witch?” As just-so stories go, I’ve heard better, but it’s the best I could come up with.

  114. Gelf says

    What does “ontological” mean? I forgot, and it’s playing hell with my ability to follow the arguement.

    Ontology is the study of the nature of being. Knowing this will in no way help you follow Wood’s argument.

  115. dogmeatib says

    Hmmm, let’s see. We have:

    -Intellectual dishonesty
    -Thinly veiled creationism
    -A lack of scientific evidence or effort
    -No actual “theory”
    -Distortions, quote mining, and outright lies
    -Concerted efforts to force their drivel in to high school classrooms and curricula without having met any of the standards of good science

    No, no reason to be annoyed or angered by any of that [rolls eyes]

  116. IM says

    Mr. Wood I see your misuse of philosophical terms:
    “Wovon man nicht reden kann, dar├╝ber muss man schweigen”

    adn raise with misuse of drama:

    “Wer ├╝ber manchen Dingen nicht den Verstand verliert, der hat keinen zu verlieren.”

    Wait, you don’t understand this? Hey, you don’t have any business to abuse philosophy if you can’t even speak german!

  117. Saber says

    I couldn’t get through that whole thing, but I did look up “first person ontology” on Dictionary.com only to find that it apparently isn’t a widely used phrase. So I broke it down.
    Ontology is “the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence”
    Metaphysic is “An underlying philosophical or theoretical principle”
    and finally, first person is “The grammatical category of forms that designate a speaker or writer referring to himself or herself”
    So basically, as far as I can tell, First person ontology means:
    This person’s abstract understanding of existence
    And that’s all well and good except that it seems to me like it would have been better to say something like “it seems to me like…”. Just a thought.

  118. woozy says

    About #136 and #148.

    My point about “with you and I” verses “with you and me” isn’t really one about grammar, and a tendency for people to use poor grammar. It was about the tendancy of people to deliberately reject what is simple and correct for what is unnatural and incorrect.

    No native speaker of English over twenty years old believes “with you and I” sounds natural and every native speaker of English over twenty years old would intuitively say “with you and me”. The only reason native speakers of English over twenty years old say “with you and I” (and they’ve only been saying it within the last twenty years) is because it sounds more stilted and therefore more upperclass and sophisticated in their minds.

    The reason I brought this up is to point out a case irrelevent to evolution vs. ID where it is clear anger is a natural response to stupidity.

    Another case might be if you were a member of budget committee and the rest of the committe outvote you to stop buying in bulk. You see, the bulk packages of 5000 cost $10.50 but the smaller packages of 1000 only cost $6.99.

    Gee, you are angry and resorting to that complicated math terminology rather than looking at the down to earth common sense that $6.99 is less than $10.50. That you insist on arguing must mean you are personally vested in the decission and that means you are probably unsure of your reasoning. Has it ever occured to you that we might be right and $6.99 is less than $10.50 and the reason you are so emotionally adamant is because you are insecure?

  119. woozy says

    #150
    Ontology is “the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence”

    There’s a bit more to it in that it studies language and how language may imply existance. Raymond Smullyan once wrote a “proof” that unicorns exist by the sentence “A living unicorn exists” (As a definition to be living means one exists. And if one exists, then … well one exists). This is very akin to Spinoza and Descartes and other rationalists’ proofs that God exists. (“God is a perfect being. Anything that doesn’t exist is less than perfect. Therefore God, being perfect, must exist”)

    Lest you think this is just a bunch of silly wordplay (and watch out for zebra crossings) which it *is* 98% of the time. It’s useful as concept to avoid falling into linguistic traps such as “What existed before the big bang?” or “where did everything come from”.

  120. Timothy says

    Finished! The key is to pace yourself. It took me about 6 hours, and as many sittings. Kind of like watching the first Dungeons & Dragons movie.

  121. David Marjanovi─ç says

    ARGH! The German translation reads horribly! I’m not able to read it through. And I must say it is much better than I’d have expected of Babelfish — it contains pretty few mistakes.

    —————

    but technically speaking if someone does say “it’s me who went to the store,” then he does so wrongly.

    “This is me, Churchill, speaking”?

    Like French, English has extra rules for emphasis, except that the threshold for emphasis is much lower in French: “c’est moi”.

    Perhaps at some point it was inconvenient to distinguish between “I” (self) and “aye” (affirmation)

    Interesting. Too bad I can’t judge it.

    No native speaker of English over twenty years old believes “with you and I” sounds natural and every native speaker of English over twenty years old would intuitively say “with you and me”. The only reason native speakers of English over twenty years old say “with you and I” (and they’ve only been saying it within the last twenty years) is because it sounds more stilted and therefore more upperclass and sophisticated in their minds.

    Wouldn’t be the first time a hypercorrectivism (incorrection) or other false analogy became standard. If the next generation grows up with it…

    ——————————–

    “Wovon man nicht reden kann, dar├╝ber muss man schweigen.”

    “What you can’t talk about, about that you must keep silent.”

    “Wer ├╝ber manchen Dingen nicht den Verstand verliert, der hat keinen zu verlieren.”

    “If you don’t lose your mind over certain things, you don’t have one to lose.”

  122. David Marjanovi─ç says

    ARGH! The German translation reads horribly! I’m not able to read it through. And I must say it is much better than I’d have expected of Babelfish — it contains pretty few mistakes.

    —————

    but technically speaking if someone does say “it’s me who went to the store,” then he does so wrongly.

    “This is me, Churchill, speaking”?

    Like French, English has extra rules for emphasis, except that the threshold for emphasis is much lower in French: “c’est moi”.

    Perhaps at some point it was inconvenient to distinguish between “I” (self) and “aye” (affirmation)

    Interesting. Too bad I can’t judge it.

    No native speaker of English over twenty years old believes “with you and I” sounds natural and every native speaker of English over twenty years old would intuitively say “with you and me”. The only reason native speakers of English over twenty years old say “with you and I” (and they’ve only been saying it within the last twenty years) is because it sounds more stilted and therefore more upperclass and sophisticated in their minds.

    Wouldn’t be the first time a hypercorrectivism (incorrection) or other false analogy became standard. If the next generation grows up with it…

    ——————————–

    “Wovon man nicht reden kann, dar├╝ber muss man schweigen.”

    “What you can’t talk about, about that you must keep silent.”

    “Wer ├╝ber manchen Dingen nicht den Verstand verliert, der hat keinen zu verlieren.”

    “If you don’t lose your mind over certain things, you don’t have one to lose.”

  123. hoary puccoon says

    Hasn’t anyone else noticed that most evolutionary biologists *don’t* get mad at IDers? Most scientists working on evolution-related topics stay in the lab or the field and do their jobs, paying no attention whatsoever to the Disco Institute.

    In fact, re-read some of PZ’s posts on scientific topics. How much time does he spend dissing the IDers, versus explaining the facts? You’ll find those posts fact-filled and not angry at all. Then read, say, Sal Cordova’s stuff. It’s almost all attacks against evolutionary theory.

    So, aside from his rather bizarre conclusion, Robert Wood’s premise is wrong from the start.

  124. Gelf says

    Saber:

    So basically, as far as I can tell, First person ontology means:
    This person’s abstract understanding of existence

    Not really. “First-person ontology” as I have seen it used refers to the kind or mode of existence enjoyed by objects of consciousness. Things like rocks and trees have a third-person ontology, in that they enjoy a mode of existence external to any conscious observer. Things that have a first-person ontology are real, but intimately bound to a conscious observer. Things placed into this category are usually various flavors of mental state, which may include perceptions and interpretations of things that have a third-person ontology. The distinction seems to be primarily used as a means to speak in dualist terms without commiting to actual metaphysical dualism.

    As I said early on, I cannot identify how Wood’s usage of the term bears any resemblance to this established meaning.

  125. hoary puccoon says

    Didn’t anyone notice that most scientists working on research related to evolution don’t get angry about ID? In fact, they pay no attention to ID whatsoever. It’s the IDers who have basically nothing to say except for their criticisms of evolutionary theory.
    So, not only is Robert Wood’s conclusion bizarre. His basic premise is wrong from the get-go.

  126. Saber says

    Gelf
    Ahh ok, I think I see. Third person ontology is my monitor in front of me, and first person ontology is my mental construct of the monitor in front of me?

  127. says

    Ryan: Kant? The guy writes like Hegel, but not as bad as Heidegger.

    Mooser: Actually, knowing what ontological means (~= “having to do with being”) doesn’t help any …

    woozy: The idea that ontology studies language is a pretty contentious claim. I doubt you’ll get much agreement on that. That said – the so called “web ontologies” sometimes come close to a semantics, so if you’ve come through via the computing literature, you’re forgiven. Ironically, they derive from the work of a philosopher who is crystal clear on the distinction. (See vol. 3 of Bunge’s Treatise on Basic Philosophy, which is the root of the Wand-Weber movement.)