Dembski at Baylor

Bill Dembski gave a talk at Baylor recently, and we have a rather thorough account of his lecture. Basically, it’s the usual creationist rope-a-dope: ask for the impossible (give me every single step in the evolution of a process) and garbled distortion of useful concepts (in this case, of information), then declare that evolution has failed.


  1. PGPWNIT says

    None are so blind as those that won’t see.

    I would not be upset at this except for the fact that they want it in the schools.

  2. extatyzoma says

    ive never understood why dembskis ‘show me the steps’ would make any difference anyway, you could show him all the steps of an ‘IR’ organelle evolving (assuming that could somehow be shown) and he could still say ‘ah, but godstilldidit’. return to square one.

  3. The Petey says

    it was at BAYLOR, what do you expect.
    We make fun 0of Baylor in houston more than we do TCU for being a fundy stronghold

  4. Sili says

    Dope on a rope?

    Nah – that sounds rather militant. Or summat.

    Hmmm – rope’s are made of hemp and so’s dope. Fascinating.

  5. says

    Goddamn creationist scientists! Why am I not surprised?

    …OK, sorry, but I promised the last time we engineers were all tarred with the same brush that I’d say that next time Dembski opened his stupid mouth so at least the biochemists might give us a break.

  6. Sigmund says

    Emmet, Dembski isn’t a scientist, he’s a theologian who has some mathematical qualifications (he’s certainly not a biochemist – perhaps you are confusing him with Behe?)

  7. Sauceress says

    Ahhh…Dr.Dr.Dr still trying desperately to distract the gullible from the fact the Idiotic Delusion sales agents have absolutely nothing to show the customers in support of their ID BS.

    Please show us all the steps of ID Dr!

  8. Etrusque says

    Someone should ask Dembski to give every single step in the building of a space shuttle, and declare to his face that his failure to comply proves that Discovery was built by a god…or that it doesn’t exist…or…you get the idea.

  9. says


    You’re right. I was thinking of Behe.

    Whenever I hear Dembski, I think Behe for some reason. Whenever I hear Behe, I think Behe. I only think Dembski when I hear Meyer.

    I obviously have some cross-wiring in the fucktard gyrus.

  10. says

    Speaking of creationist drivel, Ben Stein’s going to be speaking at my school soon, and I had the unmitigated pleasure of editing an article written for the school paper about his upcoming appearance. This of course required fact-checking – which meant visiting his ridiculous Web site (rarely have I seen so many self-references) and some other things. I thought I was going to throw up.

    Of course, I think he’s going to be talking about economics here, but he’s as delusional about that subject as well.

  11. Chris says

    That is why I think it is imperative that we promote critical thinking. His ENTIRE basis on what is “right” is nothing more than a blather of logical fallacies. If evolution is wrong then what is the answer? His personal beliefs are the “chasm jumpers” he totes evolution is. Evolution gives us steps we us to find the answers. Creationism is founded solely on personal beliefs. If he had evidence, he would have proudly announced it. His lack thereof speaks volumes.

  12. says

    (give me every single step in the evolution of a process)

    Wow! Was Dembski there for every single step of when the great sky fairy zapped everything into being?

  13. RHBourdeau says

    I’ve always thought the gaps argument was a great one because it seems to me that it’s impossible answer unless you point it out as a fallacy. As a mathematician, I’m sure Dembski chuckles at the analogy between issues in Real Analysis and the Gaps argument. Give me any two real numbers, and I can give you another number that lies between them. Think you’ve listed them all, or even shown a way to list them all? Tell me, then I’ll show you one you’ve missed. Same with the gaps argument. Suppose a creationist claims that there is no example of the evolutionary step from transitional form 1 and transitional form 2, and then someone finds transitional form 1.5. The new gaps argument is “well, yeah, but what about how you get from 1 to 1.5, or from 1.5 to 2? You haven’t answered that!” The argument itself is simply fallacious as we well know.

  14. says

    It’s a mystery how the minds of otherwise intelligent people turn to mush when discussing these issues.

    Then again, the “otherwise” clause doesn’t apply in the case of Dembski, so I’m not sure why I brought it up…

  15. Brain Hertz says

    Damn, reading that guy’s drivel always makes my head hurt. I think it’s the banging my forehead on the desk that does it.

  16. says

    The good thing about ID is that it never comes up with anything new. Hence it eventually loses through sheer boredom.

    I mean, I could only read the titles, since I certainly couldn’t bear to read the same old shit that’s it’s all “just too hard” and their complete inability to explain anything at all by “design.”

    Glen D

  17. John says

    Easy there, The Petey (@ #5), I’m an atheist and a prof at TCU. I’m not sure where you’re getting your info from, but TCU is NOT a fundamentalist institution. I’m assuming you’re not saying this MERELY because the word “Christian” appears in the University’s name. As an atheist I’ve found the ‘Christian Science Monitor’ to be an excellent source of news, and while there are, at times, religious views expressed that I disagree with, I hope we can both agree that merely expressing religious beliefs is not enough to make an entire institution ‘fundy’. Do you say this because the students have strong fundamentalist beliefs? If you are using that standard, then I think you’ll be disappointed to find that many, many universities (even those without the word “Christian” in their name) are ‘fundy’- like, gasp, Rice or the University of Houston). If you say this because of some specific beliefs of a few professors, then sadly, again, many, many universities will turn out to be ‘fundy’ (I imagine the folks at Lehigh University would be disappointed to find out that they are at a ‘fundy’ university merely because Michael Behe teacher there). Finally, if you mean that TCU is ‘fundy’ because a vast majority of the faculty are fundamentalist, well, then that’s something I can speak to, and I assure you that you and your friends in Houston are misinformed.

  18. says


    There are large parts of Baylor that certainly like ID, but that’s not so much the case in the science departments, and especially not in the biology department.

    I think it’s telling that every lecture given in the ASA club’s lecture series has been advertised prominently in the science building except for this one.

  19. VegeBrain says

    Aren’t the ID people being unfair here? If according to them evolutionists are required to show all the steps, then they themselves have to show all the steps in how the universe came into being via Intelligent Design.

    It’s absolutely required for them to show the intelligence that designed the universe. Since they haven’t done this yet they have no case.

  20. says

    How about asking him for the steps that God, for instance, would go through? “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” Did he actually speak, and how did his voice carry if there was no atmosphere to carry the sound? And what exactly was the part of the spectrum that he would define as light? How about the source of the light? Was it independent of sources like the sun and other stars or was there a source that has since faded, that we can no longer see? Did he choose those words for some special reason? Did the light come on like a switch was flipped, or did it come up slowly, like a dimmer switch? And did it fill the whole universe at the same time, or did it start from a single spot and travel to the corners of space/time?

    I figure I could ask a whole bunch of these just on light, and there are five more days of happenings to ask about. As there are no answers to these questions in the Bible, they have no way of providing an approved, Christian, answer. They are in worse shape than us godless evolutionists.

  21. Sili says

    By the way, did they let him into the cafeteria this time around? Or did have to stand around, humiliating his wife and kids again?

  22. Mu says

    Actually, the “let there be light” part is the only one Creationist are on as solid a ground on as us scientists. We have no bloody clue where the big bang came from, a universe creating being tossing his personal universe firecracker being as unprovable as anything else before the singularity. Too bad for them the information content diverges rapidly after that.

  23. Sastra says

    John #21 wrote:

    Finally, if you mean that TCU is ‘fundy’ because a vast majority of the faculty are fundamentalist, well, then that’s something I can speak to, and I assure you that you and your friends in Houston are misinformed.

    Back when Baylor was hosting the “Polyani Institute,” many if not most of the professors there objected to the university being associated with Intelligent Design, and some of the papers covered the controversy. I saved a very perceptive quote from one of the teachers, a guy named Barker, who was, I’m guessing, Christian.

    He said “I really don’t want someone to say, as Dembski does, that he can prove the existence of God using statistical formulas. The problem with that is that if you disprove his argument, you prove there’s no God.”

    I like that. It seems to encapsulate the rationale behind the “Non-Overlapping Magisteria” idea, that science can’t say anything about God AT ALL oh my goodness no. Otherwise, using science to show how there must be a God carries a risk.

    When your argument goes through peer review and falls flat, you can’t then just take the God hypothesis off the shelf and insist that the existence of God belongs in the non-scientific area where we wonder at the beauty of rainbows and love puppies. If you or anyone thought the argument could, in theory, have worked, then you’ve turned God into a science hypothesis, leveled the playing field, and not even God can help you now.

  24. ayyubid says

    “give me every single step in the evolution of a process”

    If he thinks the fossil record is PERFECT (otherwise he wouldn’t consider himself allowed to ask you for every single step), and every animal has been created at the same time, why modern animal fossils are so rare? why don’t we find many fossilized owls, rabbits, or gorillas?

  25. Rey Fox says

    “We make fun 0of Baylor in houston more than we do TCU for being a fundy stronghold”

    How about A&M? I hear that’s a huge mass of reich-wingers.

  26. Katkinkate says

    Posted by: VegeBrain @ 23 “Aren’t the ID people being unfair here? If according to them evolutionists are required to show all the steps, then they themselves have to show all the steps in how the universe came into being via Intelligent Design.”

    Unfair? All’s fair in love and war, and this, is war.

    (Rant on) If you asked them to show all the steps, they are likely to read the first couple of chapters of Genesis, then sit back smugly as if they’ve outsmarted you. Then when you say, “We don’t accept the mythology of the bible as evidence,” they will say, we don’t accept your evidence either. Because they are not in it to fight fair, they are in it to win the popularity and support of those ignorant of science.

    They are using the same strategy of the climate change denialists and other antiscience movements, by introducing ‘doubt’ into the minds of all those who are unlikely to actually care enough to do their own research to find the truth. And that’s probably almost everyone who doesn’t have a natural scientific bent. The large numbers of ‘supporters’ will be used then, to scew politics, to lobby against increasing funding for science and for return to the authority of the bible and ‘tradition’, to open opportunity for more mainstream teaching of ID, to get more access to kids in primary school. It’s an authoritarian push for control of your country! Scientists need to fight back!!

    The poster on buses campaign in London is only one of the things you can do. Science departments in Unis could sponsor science classes in nearby primary and secondary schools to show the kids what’s actually done. Set up information stands in neighbourhood shopping malls to show how science impacts everyday life (eg. lifecycle of the fruitflies in your rubbish bin).

    Science needs to have it’s own lobby group in Washington. Does the President have a science advisor? I know scientists prefer to work away in their labs and to avoid political stuff, but if you could find a big money sponsor like the ID crowd have, you could hire political savvy people to do your lobbying for you. You need to approach someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to become the patron of science. (/end Rant)

  27. Luger Otter Robinson says

    I think we are being a little unfair criticising William Dembski, I mean he is a professional idiot, sorry, experimental philosopher, after all, so he probably doesn’t know what gaffes he is making. I once made the mistake of watching David Berlinski talking about the evolution of the whale from the COW (gawd) on YouTube demanding that evolutionists show the 25000 transitional fossils he reckoned should be present, including the one where the proto-whale’s skin became impermeable to water.