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  #81  
Old 09-05-2009, 06:23 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

This did clear up some things, it sounds like the biggest straw that broke the camels back was the confrontation between Bob and Sean/Carl that got a bit.. heated?


In terms of the break that was probably the biggest thing to turn them away, or maybe not.


In terms of the policy going forward, just do the following, for logs titled Science Saturday, only bring on people/topics that are accepted in the mainstream of science circles.

Do NOT ban creationists or ID (creationist lite) from the site, just do not put them on under the aegis of a Science discussion.

Problem solved. For the most part.

If it bothers people that the issues are discussed at all in other formats on the sight, THAT I consider stepping out of the bounds of reasonableness.

The issue with the behe discussion and him not being sufficiently challenged is more an issue of having the right pairing as opposed to allowing an ID person on at all.



But guys, if anyone actually wants to make the case that a creationist or ID person should not be allowed on the site at all in ANY format... (excluding science saturday), go ahead and make the case. But you need to be Very clear and persuasive, because I do not see how you can possibly make that case and still be considered reasonable.
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  #82  
Old 09-05-2009, 06:26 PM
thprop thprop is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Brendan,

I think you are the right person to answer this totally unrelated to the diavlog question: where does the word "provability" come from?

Here is the reason I ask: "to prove", as far as I know, comes from the Latin word "probare". Note that the English version substitutes the "b" for a "v". However, another word also derived from the same root is "probability". In this case, for some odd reason, the "b" was kept the same. But now there is this other spelling "provability". I do understand that it may have a different connotation as a result of making each of the meanings more specific, but does the word exist? or are we (you) making it up?

Wonderment may also know about this (?).

I apologize in advance for my OCD attack...
If this helps, from the Oxford Dictionary of English (note - no entry for provable or provability) -

Quote:
prove /pru:v/

→ verb (past participle proved or proven /'pru:v()n, 'pr-/)
1. [with obj.] demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument: the concept is difficult to prove | [as adj.] (proven) a proven ability to work hard.

• ( (US) prove something up ) (Law) establish the genuineness and validity of (a will).
2. [with obj. and complement] demonstrate to be the specified thing by evidence or argument: if they are proved guilty we won't trade with them.

• [no obj., with complement] be seen or found to be: the scheme has proved a great success. • (prove oneself) demonstrate one's abilities or courage. • [with obj.] (rare) test the accuracy of (a mathematical calculation). • [with obj.] subject (a gun) to a testing process.
3. [no obj.] (of bread dough) become aerated by the action of yeast; rise.



not proven (Scots Law) a verdict that there is insufficient evidence to establish guilt or innocence.
- DERIVATIVES provability noun provable adjective provably adverb prover noun .
- ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French prover, from Latin probare ‘test, approve, demonstrate’, from probus ‘good’.
(USAGE For complex historical reasons, prove developed two past participles: proved and proven. Both are correct and can be used more or less interchangeably (this hasn't been proved yet; this hasn't been proven yet). In British English proved is more common, with the exception that proven is always used when the word is an adjective coming before the noun: a proven talent, not a proved talent.)
Quote:
probable

→ adjective
[often with clause] likely to happen or be the case: it is probable that the economic situation will deteriorate further | the probable consequences of his action.

→ noun
(Brit.) a person who is likely to become or do something, especially one who is likely to be chosen for a team: Merson and Wright are probables.
- ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense ‘worthy of belief’): via Old French from Latin probabilis, from probare ‘to test, demonstrate’.
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  #83  
Old 09-05-2009, 06:26 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Moral criteria for appearing on the site

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Is there any moral criterion for not appearing on the site besides being a creationist, and if so why wouldn't it apply to people complicit in war crimes?
Sure, and you give a couple of potential examples ...

Quote:
I'm not taking a point of view on this subject, but presumably Dick Cheney John Bolton and David Frum are welcome here, for example, but not a Jihadi suicide bomber or David Duke.
... although I guarantee you Bob would put Cheney or Bolton on in an instant.

Hard to think an actual suicide bomber would be able to speak much. ;^)

Actually, if we had an opportunity to hear from a suicide bomber who was prevented from acting, or withdrew from the mission for some reason, I'd be interested in hearing from him or her, unless it was just going to be the same old "death to the infidels" sloganeering.

Quote:
There is plenty of moral outrage about Behe;he has been shunned as though he were a child molester. McWhorter is disgraced just for talking to him.
As far as moral criteria go, the only one I really care about for Bh.tv is intellectual honesty. Thus, I am as appalled that Althouse, McArdle, and Jonah Goldberg are given regular slots, and that Corsi was allowed on, as I was by the creationists and McWhorter's fluffing of Behe.

But for me, the morality is not so much a consideration as is the plausibility of the ideas themselves, and all I can do is repeat that, in my judgment, creationism has been shown to be a crock, objectively. (And when it's called ID, it's wrapped in a dishonest debating approach, which makes it intellectually dishonest, to boot.) By contrast, there is no clear verdict on the political attitudes of the neocons -- right-wingers that you and I consider contemptible are still admired/respected by a large fraction of the population, even if we consider only the well-informed portion.

[Added: I don't agree with your characterizations here, by the way. The child molester part is an exaggeration and the reason McWhorter was disgraced was not that he talked to Behe at all, but because he did so in such a clueless and fawning fashion.]

Quote:
But the criteria employed to banish people are not clear at all.
Agreed. I'm not sure how to specify clear criteria beyond what I've said about the difference between science and politics, or else I would have offered more suggestions.

Quote:
I don't see any real clarity coming from your remarks, Brendan ...
Sorry.

Quote:
... (or Bob's or George's, although John Horgan took a nice chunk of the apple in his piece). I think you raise the right questions, but the right answer is up for grabs.

I'm inclined to support Bob's defense of his position (to be flexible and not to ban anyone) because it's probably impossible to spell out ANY coherent policy.
Agreed, although I think we can say that creationists ought not be allowed on under any circumstances, by the standards I have in mind. (Obviously, many will disagree with the standards I set or how I've defined them.)

Quote:
Remember that the problem with creationists was not that one was on the site; it was that two were on the site in the context of Bob's God book and the Templeton sponsorship. A pattern was emerging. It was not a case of one instance causing a violation, but rather one straw finally breaking the camel's back.
Disagree. As far as I was concerned, the first creationist all by himself, on Science Saturday, was a disgrace. I know that some other regular commenters felt the same way, and both Sean and Carl are now known to have expressed the same reaction.

I felt allowing Behe in particular on was a disgrace, as was the failure to pair him with someone who could engage him critically, as was his being booked in the face of apparent assurances given after the Nelson appearance.

I grant that others saw a possible pattern or trend, but I did not share that view.

Quote:
Which is exactly how my back feels after a few days of being crushed under the criminal weight of right-wing warmongers like Frum and Kagan.
Sorry, but there's clearly nothing to be done about that, for reasons I listed above. All I can tell you is to skip their diavlogs, same as I skip the diavloggers who bother me the most. And, I suppose, to keep registering your discontent. You never know.
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  #84  
Old 09-05-2009, 06:36 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

Quote:
Originally Posted by thprop View Post
Get some good mushrooms, eat them on a glorious summer day in the north woods of Wisconsin - then a pretentious, self destructive pseudo-poet like Jim Morrison has great meaning. Very high volume (maybe 12 - 11 would not be enough) required.
Nah. That's how I used to do it. And if I remember correctly, it was during one of those times that I had the insight that Morrison was an embarrassment.

Or not. Okay for teenagers, I guess, same as liking apple bubblegum is an okay taste for a little kid (sorry Me&!).
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  #85  
Old 09-05-2009, 06:53 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamP View Post
First, the point that should be stated more clearly about Behe is that he isn't just wrong, but disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. He keeps making claims about incorrect facts for years after they have been discredited. This is the problem. If he had a sincere scientific mindset where he was actually trying to find examples in the natural world that couldn't be explained by incremental mutation, and moving on when his attempts fail, that could lead to some interesting study. (Contrary to claims, scientists would be _extremely_ interested in a genuine discovery of a biological feature that seemed like it couldn't have arisen through slow incremental change driven by natural selection.)
Agreed. Well put.

Quote:
Second, what bothers me about Zimmer and Carroll's decision is that I am an adult capable of making up my own mind. If I see two people agreeing that ID is the most important idea of the millennium, I'm not forced to suddenly give it credit and admit it as a serious position. I don't want a site that nurtures me and protects me. Give me the ideas, and I'll decide. If this were a school, then I'd be on board with Carroll's arguments, but it's not. I prefer a free exchange of ideas aimed at people who already have well-developed critical thinking skills.
A reasonable position, but I don't agree with it.

I happen to think Carl and Sean have a defensible position, that they would rather not be associated with an outfit that will not disavow, once and for all, the idea that creationism has any scientific merit, and more importantly, the idea that IDiots should continue to be allowed to come on and be treated as though they are legitimate scientific thinkers.

Also, I don't think it's so much a matter of "protecting" the particular audience that this site attracts as it is a desire not to give the IDiots the PR coup of being given time and space on a site like this, which works hard to maintain a reputation for serious intellectual exchange.

Quote:
Third, Carroll and Zimmer's diavlogs here are themselves a great service toward increasing interest in science and educating the public. If that is their aim, aside from standing for a general principle, it's hard for me to see how not appearing here helps them with their cause.
Also reasonable. Again, though, I think Carl and Sean have at least as good a differing view, which basically amounts to (a) this ain't the only channel in town, and (b) being associated with this site damages their credibility when communicating -- educating -- through other channels. (I suspect you disagree with (b), but it is the way they see things, and I can respect that judgment.) Add in the reality that theirs was a volunteer effort, and it becomes easier to see why they might prefer to invest their time and energy elsewhere.

(That said, from my own selfish interests, of course I hope they relent after some chunk of time passes, assuming Bh.tv keeps a clean record over that time.)
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  #86  
Old 09-05-2009, 07:08 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: BhTV model

(NB: Just responding to bits and pieces here -- many of your sentences aren't quoted.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by osmium View Post
In Zimmer's post, he linked to a Behe paper, I think in the journal Biochemistry. (I could be wrong.)
Assuming you're talking about this Zimmer post, you are. The paper was published in Protein Science.

More to the point are these lines from Carl (emph. added):

Quote:
The closest he’s got is a single paper on a computer model he published five years ago, which doesn’t even mention intelligent design. What’s more, it was promptly and effectively rebutted by the evolutionary biologist Michael Lynch for making all sorts of unwarranted assumptions about biology.
(If you're talking about a different post from Carl, of course, the above does not apply, and please give a link to the post you have in mind.)

Quote:
Sometimes people seem to think "the literature" (i.e. the peer-reviewed scientific literature) need to be protected from this kind of stuff. But I say, as long as they play by the rules, then why not.
Is this really true? I can't think that I've ever heard that about the scientific literature. The whole idea is that the peer-review system is the protection. I grant there are complaints about the details of the implementation; e.g., unqualified reviewers, the anonymity of reviewers, the credibility of a given journal's editor, etc., but I'm unaware of the worry you describe.

Quote:
So, finally to the point: What is the model of BhTV? Is it a magazine? With an editorial guiding hand? Is it a TV station, or, as Sean Carroll says, more like a single program? Or is it like the literature? Behe did not seem to convert anyone, and that seems like failure. Am I ignoring the "legitmacy" argument? And if so, why don't we work on changing that perception--that simple appearance makes something legitmate? Because it doesn't.
I welcome your suggestions for how we ought to discourage the populace of thinking that appearance on a prestigious stage equals legitimacy. Maybe this doesn't hold for you, but it does for many other people. I will point out that the creationists certainly believe this perception is widely held, which is why they work so hard to get big-name people to debate them. I will also point out that many people who actually have experience in the field have come to think that this legitimacy-by-association is a significant problem.

Quote:
Long rambly post, sorry. Just thinking out loud.
That's (partly) what forums are for.
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  #87  
Old 09-05-2009, 07:11 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Moral criteria for appearing on the site

Quote:
As far as moral criteria go, the only one I really care about for Bh.tv is intellectual honesty.
We've probably covered this as much as we can, but I'll give it one more approach: What do you think is more intellectually dishonest...?

A) Distorting science for theological purposes or

B) Concocting a pack of lies in order to kill tens of thousands of civilians?

If there is no dispute about creationism and ID being false then there is also no (serious) dispute that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Powell lied to invade Iraq and were facilitated in doing so by hired guns like frequent Bheads guest David Frum (among others).

Many of the criminal lies are set out here.

In both cases of intellectual dishonesty you have people making claims they know are false.

In the first case, the result is the spread of rather easily refuted misinformation and religious propaganda. By no stretch of the imagination is a crime committed.

In the second case, the result is mass murder and all the immense suffering that is the consequence of an entirely unnecessary and unjustifiable war. If our system worked properly, the perps would be in jail for crimes against humanity.

In the first case, the victims can grow up, read books and change their minds; or simply go on in a deluded state, perhaps influencing other to believe dumb stuff.

In the second case, the victims are dead, disabled, displaced and severely traumatized.
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  #88  
Old 09-05-2009, 07:28 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

ERV is itching for a fight! Somebody get her an opponent!
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  #89  
Old 09-05-2009, 07:47 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Moral criteria for appearing on the site

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
We've probably covered this as much as we can, but I'll give it one more approach: What do you think is more intellectually dishonest...?

A) Distorting science for theological purposes or

B) Concocting a pack of lies in order to kill tens of thousands of civilians?
I think the intellectual dishonesty is equivalently bad in the two cases. Obviously, I think (b) is more reprehensible, but for other reasons. (The consequences, largely.)

Quote:
If there is no dispute about creationism and ID being false then there is also no (serious) dispute that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Powell lied to invade Iraq and were facilitated in doing so by hired guns like frequent Bheads guest David Frum (among others).
I do not believe that Frum can be said to have blood on his hands to the degree that the other four do. His judgment in working for the Bush Administration was bad, and I think it's contemptible that he hasn't apologized for the contributions he made to the selling of the war in light of additional information that has come to light, but I cannot call him a criminal for what he did. I don't even think that he was willfully dishonest, because I doubt he had full access to all the intelligence when he was a speechwriter.

Quote:
Many of the criminal lies are set out here.

In both cases of intellectual dishonesty you have people making claims they know are false.
I agree as far as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell go. (Add in Rice, Tenet, Rove, and probably some others, too.) But I don't agree when it comes to people at the level of Frum. Or, at least, I don't know that about Frum.

Quote:
In the first case, the result is the spread of rather easily refuted misinformation and religious propaganda.
I don't at all agree that these are easily refuted. You have only to look at the many commenters here who do not agree with my outlook that creationists should not be considered worthwhile guests and/or who think that Sean and Carl made a bad decision to cut ties. And certainly, these are not easily refuted on the population scale. (cf.)

Quote:
By no stretch of the imagination is a crime committed.
Legally, agreed. Morally, disagreed.

Quote:
In the second case, the result is mass murder and all the immense suffering that is the consequence of an entirely unnecessary and unjustifiable war. If our system worked properly, the perps would be in jail for crimes against humanity.
Agreed.

Quote:
In the first case, the victims can grow up, read books and change their minds; or simply go on in a deluded state, perhaps influencing other to believe dumb stuff.
Yup. And unfortunately, the latter is more often the case. See above "cf."

Quote:
In the second case, the victims are dead, disabled, displaced and severely traumatized.
Agreed.

But once again, I am going to maintain that the perpetuation of creationism as an "equally good" idea is part of sustaining a larger mindset that also can be more easily fooled into swallowing lies like those sold by the Bush Administration. And once again, I am going to state that however much you and I view the invasion of Iraq as a war crime, there is no getting away from the reality that our view is not the overwhelming majority view, even among people best qualified to judge.

Maybe it comes down not only to my seeing creationism as more provably wrong, and more proven wrong, but also to (1) a "pick your battles" sense and (2) the view that what we can have an effect on are decisions to be made in the future, and not what's already done.
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  #90  
Old 09-05-2009, 07:59 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkepticDoc View Post
Niños, paz en la tierra, por favor.
Gracias por lo de niños. Y se dice: "que haya paz en la tierra para todos los hombres (y mujeres) de buena voluntad".
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  #91  
Old 09-05-2009, 08:38 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
 
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Default About "Mistakes Were Made" and the recent stuff

Do the tough questions always need to be a part of the initial thing? I don't have an objection to getting a primer where Behe is unchallenged for an hour. Just because it is not right there, criticism will out, flaws will out. To fight Behe and curtail his influence, it helps to know what he thinks. Take Jerome Corsi - if you want to decrease the odds that he will prevent Obama from winning the presidential election, maybe you don't put him on the defensive on bloggingheads with a firebrand, maybe you do it in two pieces - a flat platform where he feels comfortable enough to talk, and do the gloss separately. Dingalink his points one by one and run the rebuttals.

I don't really buy that there are clusters of fringe ideas so insignificant that merely running a bloggingheads about them gives them legitimacy beyond whatever is happening in the ebb and flow. If it's big enough for the editors to have heard of it, it's probably big enough to do some harm, which means it's important to effectively fight it, which means it's important to effectively understand it.

Learning about Behe and Nelson is part of getting the "lay of the land" of the major religions' impact on society circa 2009. Which is important for understanding the possible contours and pitfalls in, let's say interfaith initiatives to foster coexistence and decrease the likelihood of future religious war. Especially with WMD at the back of our minds, and small numbers of events that can have disproportionate impact, accurate information about other peoples' belief systems is a good thing. My impression of Bob Wright is that he feels the coexistence anxieties in a deep and admirable way, and that he pours tons of effort into doing something with his life to help the odds.
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  #92  
Old 09-05-2009, 09:04 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: About "Mistakes Were Made" and the recent stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Do the tough questions always need to be a part of the initial thing?
Yes, when the diavlogger in question has been so thoroughly and repeatedly exposed elsewhere as a charlatan. Otherwise, you are just letting him have another opportunity to spread misinformation.

This even assumes that a guy like Behe should be invited on in the first place, something of which I do not approve.

Quote:
I don't really buy that there are clusters of fringe ideas so insignificant that merely running a bloggingheads about them gives them legitimacy beyond whatever is happening in the ebb and flow.
Even if you don't buy this, you should buy that something can be a matter of principle.
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  #93  
Old 09-05-2009, 09:16 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Moral criteria for appearing on the site

Both have blogs, and if I recall correctly both have comment sections. Anyone interested could surely go to those sites and present any ideas or feelings about them coming back.
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  #94  
Old 09-05-2009, 11:40 PM
HLeaf HLeaf is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

The "ignore the fringe" arguments don't make much sense to me as long as the fringe - like Behe - is able to get books published. Isn't the fact that McWhorter read his book and didn't know it had been refuted multiple times evidence to the fact that Behe hadn't been criticized enough? There were multiple dismantling reviews of Behe's book, and McWhorter who is an intelligent, well-read man had no idea, and simply assumed it was credible. How are laymen supposed to know? Shouldn't the public criticisms be louder?
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  #95  
Old 09-05-2009, 11:45 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Quote:
Originally Posted by HLeaf View Post
The "ignore the fringe" arguments don't make much sense to me as long as the fringe - like Behe - is able to get books published. Isn't the fact that McWhorter read his book and didn't know it had been refuted multiple times evidence to the fact that Behe hadn't been criticized enough? There were multiple dismantling reviews of Behe's book, and McWhorter who is an intelligent, well-read man had no idea, and simply assumed it was credible. How are laymen supposed to know? Shouldn't the public criticisms be louder?
If McWhorter had managed to stay ignorant of the criticism of Behe as long as he did, what makes you think having Behe on Bh.tv would have changed that?

And meanwhile, the IDiots get to crow about being invited to another (usually) respectable forum.
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  #96  
Old 09-06-2009, 12:09 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Bob,

Several points:

1) First, if Darwinists want to portray themselves as Spock-like scientists interested only in truth, facts, and science (as opposed to those c-r-a-z-y ID types) then they'd better start telling us layman why they are right - and the ID types are wrong. Telling us that "Its just too complicated" or "We don't want to give them credibility" or "It'd just be too boring" is bullshit. Why do you think John W. had the Divalog with Behe?

2) We need a Divalog that lays out the flaws in Darwinian theory and the counter-arguments. And it'd be nice if the Diavlog actually focused on the science as opposed a lot political/religious crap. I'm tired of listening to English majors and journalists with an ax to grind propagandize for Darwin. Propaganda isn't SCIENCE and I don't give a crap whether the facts and science support the "Fundies" or the "God-haters".

3) So, quit trying to suppress debate to "Protect us" or because your worried "we won't understand the truth". The constant refusal to debate and ad hominen attacks on Darwinian critics simply convinces open-minded people that Darwinist Evolution isn't really science but the same sort of nonsense that Freud-ism and Marxism were.
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  #97  
Old 09-06-2009, 12:10 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
... convinces open-minded people that Darwinist Evolution isn't really science but the same sort of nonsense that Freud-ism and Marxism were.
The mind reels.

I guess "open-minded" here means "gets all of his information from wingnut blogs."

Tell me, rcocean, how many biology courses have you taken?
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  #98  
Old 09-06-2009, 12:33 AM
dankingbooks dankingbooks is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Arrogance will get you nowhere

I gave up on this diavlog after 25 minutes or so - who cares about Bob's psychological problems. Instead, I listened to the Behe piece.

I make the following points:

1) 80% of Americans (and probably humans) disagree with evolution. As a person who has taught evo to college students, I can attest to that.

2) As per many Bh diavlogs, intentionality is a core human attitude. Thus, despite overwhelming evidence, evolution is and always will be a tough sell.

3) Telling people that they're a bunch of idiots is not usually good public relations. Specifically, George Johnson thinks anybody besides George Johnson is an idiot. He is thus a poor candidate for promoting an honest discussion of evolution (or anything).

4) John McWhorter was MUCH more successful (despite dropping the ball at the end). The reason was that he took Mr. Behe seriously enough, and then caught him in some essential contradictions. This works. The trick - gee, George should have learned this in kindergarten - is to take your adversary seriously.

5) Creationism is NOT the same as holocaust denial. The latter is a conspiracy theory. The former is a natural human attitude toward the world that one can unlearn only with great effort.

6) I think Bhtv should air intelligent people from all sides of the debate. And nobody - not even George Johnson - is the arbiter of the limits of scientific discussion.

7) I don't care if these shows happen on Saturday or not. I don't care if Bob lies awake all night and gets angry e-mails. I do think it is important that Behe, et. al, be shown for what they are: theologians, but not scientists.

Bottom line: air the dirty laundry. It smells better afterwards.
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  #99  
Old 09-06-2009, 12:48 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Arrogance will get you nowhere

Quote:
Originally Posted by dankingbooks View Post
I gave up on this diavlog after 25 minutes or so - who cares about Bob's psychological problems. Instead, I listened to the Behe piece.

I make the following points:

1) 80% of Americans (and probably humans) disagree with evolution. As a person who has taught evo to college students, I can attest to that.
As usual, what you attest to is at odds with the data.

I gave up on your comment after that -- who cares what a misogynist has to say.
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Old 09-06-2009, 01:20 AM
dankingbooks dankingbooks is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Arrogance will get you nowhere

Hi BJ,

Since you brought it up, my supposedly misogynistic book (an unfair characterization, but since you haven't read it, you wouldn't know) can be found a www.dankingbooks.com.

Your data doesn't disprove any point that I made. Your data doesn't include India, or China, or the Middle East, or Africa - but rather a list of (mostly) smaller countries in Europe. In the event, I hope you're right - I strongly support evolution, and I hope it becomes widely accepted. I simply doubt the likelihood of that outcome.

Beyond that, neither your data nor your mischaracterization of my book has any material bearing on my comment.
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  #101  
Old 09-06-2009, 01:39 AM
mattcbrown mattcbrown is offline
 
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Default Re: Establishment scientists not deserving of respect

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Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve View Post
It appears that little progress has been made in science in recent decades as democrats have come to dominate large institutions. NASA is seemingly doing nothing. We should be sending fleets of robots to Mars and the Moon. No super collider is active or planned in the US. Nuclear power, fusion reactors - nothing. Science is not developing new antibiotics, people are defenseless against a flu outbreak. Cancer still kills with certainty. The Earth is defenseless against asteroids and extreme solar events. People are increasingly illiterate in the sciences. I think the fault derives from the mindset of control freak democrats.
Honestly, sometimes I think you <i>must</i> be writing this stuff as a joke just to see if anyone will buy it.

Also, can you please approach a topic without thrusting your political agenda into it? Seriously, the paragraph above has <i>nothing to do with this diavlog</i>.
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  #102  
Old 09-06-2009, 02:35 AM
Kevin Kevin is offline
 
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Default Re: About "Mistakes Were Made" and the recent stuff

Hi Brendan. Sure, I mean, that's fine too. Keep them off Bloggingheads on principle. The visceral horror of original sources can be useful, to find out for yourself just how whacked someone is. But it doesn't need to be on BH.

I could imagine Will Wilkinson talking to Jeff Sharlet about The Family on here, (to take a variation on a theme of weird-Christians-with-influence) and over on the right side, there could be a link to a video taken at the Family's annual picnic or something, footage of believers, shot by believers. The context of the link makes it OK in that situation: "tread with care, you are about to be watching original sources for the purpose of fleshing out Sharlet's journalism."

(I'm making it up - I don't think they actually linked to anything like that.)

Or the BHers can just reference it once in conversation, like Horgan/Johnson briefly referencing antigravity without legitimizing that.
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  #103  
Old 09-06-2009, 03:55 AM
bhf bhf is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

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Originally Posted by epiphanius View Post
I am sorry indeed to hear of Carl Zimmer's decision not to return. I respect his integrity completely, but wish he would reconsider - I have learned more from him on Science Saturday than from any other single source I can think of.
This is a major loss.
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  #104  
Old 09-06-2009, 04:09 AM
sapeye sapeye is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Back to Buddhist camp, Bob! You seem to be harshing your own buzz with all the frantic verbalization. Remember to take some time for quiet breathing.
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  #105  
Old 09-06-2009, 05:01 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Passive-Aggressive Awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold

Bronze: To George for calling Bob's retreat "Buddhist Camp" as if Bob were a 9-year-old Cub Scout.

Silver: George again for getting Bob to preemptively renounce the Templeton Prize (for his own good), while simultaneously making sure that everyone who never dreamed that Bob was angling for a Templeton Award now suspects that he is, was and forever will be.

Gold: Bob for accepting responsibility for everything from Original Sin to the Rwanda genocide, while shifting blame to staff, creationists, McWhorter and the bad back.
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  #106  
Old 09-06-2009, 07:17 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Arrogance will get you nowhere

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Originally Posted by dankingbooks View Post
Hi BJ,

Since you brought it up, my supposedly misogynistic book (an unfair characterization, but since you haven't read it, you wouldn't know) can be found a www.dankingbooks.com.
I've read some of it, through Amazon. I was also referring to your history of comments on this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dankingbooks View Post
Your data doesn't disprove any point that I made.
You said in your previous post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dankingbooks View Post
1) 80% of Americans (and probably humans) disagree with evolution. Your data doesn't include India, or China, or the Middle East, or Africa - but rather a list of (mostly) smaller countries in Europe.
The chart I linked to certainly shows your assertion about America to be incorrect -- about 40% don't believe in evolution, about 40% do, and the rest are "not sure." It also shows that your assertion is incorrect for more than thirty other countries, where the percentage of those who don't believe in evolution is lower than in the US in all but one case (Turkey).

If you would like to start cherry-picking other data in the face of data you don't like, well, okay, but maybe you should, you know, go look at some data. For example, regarding China, India, and parts of Africa, as well as some other countries not listed in my previous reference (emph. added):

Quote:
The survey, presented yesterday at the World Conference of Science Journalists in London by the British Council as part of its international program Darwin Now, asked more than 10,000 adults across Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States about their knowledge and acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution. Across all countries, 70% of the adults surveyed felt somewhat familiar with Darwin and his work, with the highest levels of awareness being found in the United States and the United Kingdom (71% in both), Mexico (68%), and Argentina (65%). Seventy-three percent of the adults surveyed in South Africa and 62% in Egypt had never heard of Charles Darwin or of his theory of evolution, however.

Overall, knowing meant believing in evolution. Fifty-six percent of the people in all 10 countries who had heard of Darwin believed there is sufficient scientific evidence in support of Darwin's theory of evolution. A more detailed analysis, however, revealed a complex picture. Although the majority of adults surveyed in India (77%), China (72%), Mexico (65%), the United Kingdom (62%), Spain (61%), and Argentina (57%) accepted the theory of evolution as scientifically founded, only 48% did so in Russia, 42% in South Africa, 41% in the United States, and 25% in Egypt.

[...]

The country that showed greatest support for the idea that evolution without a God guided the development of all life was China (67%), followed by Mexico (42%), the United Kingdom and Spain (38%), Argentina (37%), and Russia (32%). In Egypt, however, half of the adults surveyed believed in the evolution of human life in a process guided by a god.

[...]

In spite of the cultural differences, what could be found in all of the 10 countries was acceptance of evolution and religion. In India, 85% of the adults surveyed saw nothing wrong with both believing in a god and accepting Darwin's theory of evolution. The same pattern was found in Mexico (65%), Argentina (62%), the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Russia (54%), the United States (53%), Spain (46%), Egypt (45%), and China (39%).
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Last edited by bjkeefe; 09-06-2009 at 07:19 AM..
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  #107  
Old 09-06-2009, 07:28 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Passive-Aggressive Awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Gold: Bob for accepting responsibility for everything from Original Sin to the Rwanda genocide, while shifting blame to staff, creationists, McWhorter and the bad back.
I'm guessing you're speaking somewhat tongue-in-cheek here, but if not, I'm going to say that this seems unfair. Bob took responsibility under the "buck stops here" rule and, further, acknowledged responsibility for the problems caused by his having delegated authority without providing sufficient guidance. I would say the discussion related to the staff, etc., fell more under the heading of explanation.
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  #108  
Old 09-06-2009, 07:35 AM
Kandigol Kandigol is offline
 
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Default Re: Establishment scientists not deserving of respect

DenvilleSteve,
are you for real?
Did you read the Science-page in your local newspaper in the past twenty years? Or does your local paper not have a Science-page once in a while? In that case, you should consider changing subscriptions.

Cern, anyone? Mars, anyone? Nano-technology, anyone? Retroviral drugs?

Your allegations are so absurd, that the theory must be true that you are just pulling our chain.
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  #109  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:26 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Passive-Aggressive Awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Gold: Bob for accepting responsibility for everything from Original Sin to the Rwanda genocide, while shifting blame to staff, creationists, McWhorter and the bad back.
Bullseye!

So I had a policy (even a generalized Behe plan... as in let's get him), I have a policy and yet we may not apply a policy if it happens again. Except to say that I want to please 'em all... just not those that take a principled stand (goodbye Sean and Carl)... if it conflicts with my loose application of a general policy that may or may not factor into further editorial decisions. Hits baby, hits. Chaos theory, hang loose and don't hate on weeds.

Bhtv boardroom meeting:
Bob: So does it look bad that we got Behe and then we disowned him and then we left McWhorter out to dry?

Staff: Well we credited the value of real scientists and the intelligence of our viewers. Then by removing the video, we gave Behe the boost he so cherishes. And now we have sufficiently muddied the waters so that no clear sense is possible. And people will choose sides according to their predilections anyway. Win/win baby.
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  #110  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:32 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Arrogance will get you nowhere

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Originally Posted by dankingbooks View Post
2) As per many Bh diavlogs, intentionality is a core human attitude. Thus, despite overwhelming evidence, evolution is and always will be a tough sell.

4) John McWhorter was MUCH more successful (despite dropping the ball at the end). The reason was that he took Mr. Behe seriously enough, and then caught him in some essential contradictions. This works. The trick - gee, George should have learned this in kindergarten - is to take your adversary seriously.

5) Creationism is NOT the same as holocaust denial. The latter is a conspiracy theory. The former is a natural human attitude toward the world that one can unlearn only with great effort.

6) I think Bhtv should air intelligent people from all sides of the debate. And nobody - not even George Johnson - is the arbiter of the limits of scientific discussion.

7) I don't care if these shows happen on Saturday or not. I don't care if Bob lies awake all night and gets angry e-mails. I do think it is important that Behe, et. al, be shown for what they are: theologians, but not scientists.

Bottom line: air the dirty laundry. It smells better afterwards.
Excellent points! I have omitted a few to save space, but they are all worth taking seriously.

I think it would be wonderful to have a discussion about intentionality and why it features so heavily in human thought. Dennett talks about it as many philosophers do and it is also in the realm of evo psych.

I think taking your opponent seriously does a couple of things. First, it makes you look good in that you are respectful and second, just in case your opponent isn't as lame as you thought, you don't come off looking like an ass.

It's just those crazy thought experiments that creationists come up with that I can't handle.
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  #111  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:43 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
Bob,

Several points:

1) First, if Darwinists want to portray themselves as Spock-like scientists interested only in truth, facts, and science...
Hey RC, thoughtful stuff. And interesting, also that Darwin himself left the door open to the creator.

I don't understand the problem people have with the ID
(and other creationist) debate as though the airwaves shouldn't be polluted with such talk.

As you say and others have said, there are lots of people who remain on the fence about the subject and may not be as informed about the debate as they should be. Discussions will give those folks an opportunity to weigh things for themselves.
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  #112  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:58 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: BhTV model

Osinium said:
Am I ignoring the "legitmacy" argument? And if so, why don't we work on changing that perception--that simple appearance makes something legitmate? Because it doesn't.
Long rambly post, sorry. Just thinking out loud.


Yeah, but good. It would be good to understand what the peer review process is like and also why 'the literature' is such a bone crusher.
There seems to be a lack of consensus about these issues even amongst the comments.
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  #113  
Old 09-06-2009, 10:16 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

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IMO, that's because most people either have not actually thought about it or have but are too unwilling to accept the implications of that thought (e.g., that it takes a lot of proactive, thoughtfully considered energy to make this life meaningful). So much easier to sit around squandering or bemoaning this one waiting for the greener grass in the next one. What could make life on earth less meaningful than the idea that it's just a crappy holding cell on the way to something better (or infinitely and eternally worse, if you've been so foolish as to choose the wrong dogma)?
Well yes, but also people do seem to have a predilection to believe in an afterlife. This features so heavily in human history it has to be deeply ingrained at the physical level. This brings up the idea of intentionality which is always present and seems to be one of the ways humans and other animals have relied on to survive.
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  #114  
Old 09-06-2009, 10:22 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

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Originally Posted by Unit View Post
I don't really understand what "atheist" means, or "god" for that matter. My level of understanding is this area is very limited. My definition of "transcendent" is reduced to "counterfactual". This is something I can grasp: every action could have taken different paths and generated parallel histories.
Well if you don't understand god then you wouldn't understand athiest. What you describe, I think is the essence of evolution....that all of this you see could have gone another way, possibly, but didn't because of....what?chance?
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  #115  
Old 09-06-2009, 10:23 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made

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Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
Praise Jesus!
troll! troll!
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  #116  
Old 09-06-2009, 10:33 AM
Me&theboys Me&theboys is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by HLeaf View Post
The "ignore the fringe" arguments don't make much sense to me as long as the fringe - like Behe - is able to get books published. Isn't the fact that McWhorter read his book and didn't know it had been refuted multiple times evidence to the fact that Behe hadn't been criticized enough? There were multiple dismantling reviews of Behe's book, and McWhorter who is an intelligent, well-read man had no idea, and simply assumed it was credible. How are laymen supposed to know? Shouldn't the public criticisms be louder?
I think you've pegged McWhorter incorrectly. What if, as I think based on his comments on the diavlog, McWhorter was fully aware of the criticisms and was unable/unwilling to accept their implications? I think this describes much of the believing public. They're not really that stupid - they just ignore and deny inconvenient and/or undesirable facts. In which case, having Behe on bhtv with an informed interlocuter does nothing to disuade such people that creationism and ID are wrong but does give a varnish of legitimacy to creationism and ID, and having Behe on bhtv with a sympathetic interlocutor simply reinforces such people's original positions. It's a zero-summ game with id and creationism on the winning side every time.

As PZ Myers said, "You can't use reason to talk someone out of a position they didn't use reason to arrive at." Anyone who is truly curious about the issue does not need to wait for bhtv to have a diavlog in order to become educated about the issue and make up their mind.

I have flip flopped on the issue of whether it is better or worse to give these people air time. I've decided to stay with the "I know it when I see it" rationale for what is and is not acceptable interaction with crackpots, and I'll continue to complain vehemently when I think bhtv called it wrong. McWhorter/Behe and Nelson/Numbers both crossed the line, in my opinion, because of poor performance on the part of the interlocutors. Bob should figure out how to have more control over that if he's going to have a "we post everything we tape" policy.
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  #117  
Old 09-06-2009, 11:10 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

I haven't seen the Behe interview, but did watch Nelson/Numbers. I thought that given Nelson described himself as an agnostic, he did a fine job of disputing Numbers when he saw a conflict with good science or rational ways of thinking. He is just a quiet guy!

The problem with agnosticism is that it still admits the possibility that a creator exists but doesn't dabble in the details and may still be on the lookout for a rationale for believing in the almighty.
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  #118  
Old 09-06-2009, 11:15 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Me&theboys View Post
I think you've pegged McWhorter incorrectly. What if, as I think based on his comments on the diavlog, McWhorter was fully aware of the criticisms and was unable/unwilling to accept their implications? I think this describes much of the believing public. They're not really that stupid - they just ignore and deny inconvenient and/or undesirable facts. In which case, having Behe on bhtv with an informed interlocuter does nothing to disuade such people that creationism and ID are wrong but does give a varnish of legitimacy to creationism and ID, and having Behe on bhtv with a sympathetic interlocutor simply reinforces such people's original positions. It's a zero-summ game with id and creationism on the winning side every time.
I pretty much agree with the above.

Quote:
As PZ Myers said, "You can't use reason to talk someone out of a position they didn't use reason to arrive at." Anyone who is truly curious about the issue does not need to wait for bhtv to have a diavlog in order to become educated about the issue and make up their mind.
This is a very important point. But instead of using this argument to preclude debate, I would favor using it differently. If Behe is a scientist, when he "reasons" through his ideas, there must be a point when he transitions from standard scientific methodology into religious belief. It wouldn't be too hard for someone knowledgeable in his field to identify that point and confront him with that. It doesn't have to be too technical. It would serve the purpose of clarifying where the flaw is for those who know enough to follow the general idea but not enough to be clear about where the flaw is. Sure, there will be people for whom the whole thing will be obscure and who would need a different approach including more education.

Quote:
I have flip flopped on the issue of whether it is better or worse to give these people air time. I've decided to stay with the "I know it when I see it" rationale for what is and is not acceptable interaction with crackpots, and I'll continue to complain vehemently when I think bhtv called it wrong. McWhorter/Behe and Nelson/Numbers both crossed the line, in my opinion, because of poor performance on the part of the interlocutors. Bob should figure out how to have more control over that if he's going to have a "we post everything we tape" policy.
I have a similar sentiment, although I don't think the Nelson/Numbers crossed the line, except for having been posted in a Science Saturday slot. The McWhorter/Behe diavlog was simply painful to watch.
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  #119  
Old 09-06-2009, 11:28 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

Quote:
Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
The problem with agnosticism is that it still admits the possibility that a creator exists but doesn't dabble in the details and may still be on the lookout for a rationale for believing in the almighty.
Whose agnosticism is that?

For what I know, agnosticism is an acknowledgment that the more abstract conceptions of a god may not be accessible to scientific inquiry, and therefore the possibility --whether remote or not may vary-- cannot be denied.

I think that the original idea of agnosticism stemmed from atheistic-agnosticism. But there are religious agnostics who, although they are religious, they realize there is no way of proving their belief and maintain an ultimately agnostic position. Britannica has a nice summary.
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  #120  
Old 09-06-2009, 11:29 AM
Namazu Namazu is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)

I'm certainly in favor of Bob consistently implementing any editorial policy he chooses. However, I doubt any sin committed in a past life justifies accepting this kind of abuse from mainstream reporters not wanting to "associate" themselves with his "publication." The NYT's science section is very well written, but the treatment elsewhere in the paper of hot topics like global warming and string theory can be very sloppy. And if they want to be fussy about softball fluff across the NYT, they should consider articles on Bernadine Dohrn's cookie recipes and the like. Of course, they're entitled to publish/appear where they like, but they shouldn't fool themselves: the editorial quality of old and new media are converging, and it's not just because new is getting better. Gambatte, Bob!
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