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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Leonard Susskind, eh?

"Scientists in glass houses, throwing stones

New Scientist magazine interviews Leonard Susskind, professor of theoretical physics at Stanford:


"If we do not accept the landscape idea are we stuck with intelligent design?"

"I doubt that physicists will see it that way. If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent - maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation - I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world. But I have to say that if that happens, as things stand now, we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature's fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics. One might argue that the hope that a mathematically unique solution will emerge is as faith-based as ID."

One of the reasons that I think so little of Darwin's more outspoken defenders is that most of them are not genuine scientists, they are at best third-rate academics. I do not subscribe to either ID or evolutionary theory, (being firmly agnostic on the question of both origins and methods*), but I have to say that the behavior of the evolutionists over the past few years has me leaning towards the ID camp, mostly because they don't behave as if they have something to hide."

The above? Nope, not my words. It is from Vox Popoli. Nice to know I am not the only one, especially hearing it from an "agnostic on the question of both origins and methods" who has no agenda other than stating what seems obvious. I am on the side of those who "...don't behave as if they have something to hide."

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

"One of the reasons that I think so little of Darwin's more outspoken defenders is that most of them are not genuine scientists, they are at best third-rate academics."

And indeed, on the internet most of them literally are not genuine scientists (nor claim to be) - instead they're generally merely advocates for good science.

Saw your comment over there. You want to talk about ID? Ok. Though what a man of faith wants to do with a bunch of guys who spend so much time denying Jesus*, you'd expect the poor rooster to die of overextertion, I dunno . . . At least you have the courage of your convictions, however factually flawed I believe some of them to be, and don't pretend otherwise for p.r./ as a legal/cultural strategy.**

You've read about the Wedge Strategy, right? Tell me, does cutting-edge, downright revolutionary, world-changing science usually involve a carefully planned PR campaign? (Although they at least originally planned to do step 1 (ie, real research) first, before the PR blitz. Good thinking - pity that didn't work out for them . . . ) Does it usually involve talk about grandiose plans involving overturning modern science and changing society? Does this look like real science?

Speaking of which, Jen at Adventures in Ethics and Science has an interesting post up about "Evaluating scientific credibility (or, do we have to take the scientists' word for it?)" that is somewhat relevent to this whole discussion . . .

* in front of mixed company, that is. And reporters. Though they've been having trouble lately . . .

** Hasn't worked out so well for them recently, though . . .

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"I am on the side of those who "...don't behave as if they have something to hide.""

Um, no. You're a young earth creationist, aren't you?

Where are the YECs hiding all that evidence you keep crowing about? Why is it that highly problematic claims are trotted out instead of sustainable ones? Why do we hear that zircon claim again, with no attempt made why the scenario they envision would have destroyed the Earth 6000 years ago?

Why do creationists hide all the real answers?

Why does Dembski's blog ban anyone who posts an opposing argument? Why do they behave as if they have something to hide?

creeper said...

Correction: "with no attempt made why the scenario they envision would have destroyed the Earth 6000 years ago" should read "with no attempt made to explain why the scenario they envision would not have destroyed the Earth 6000 years ago"

IAMB said...

Radar, I'm actually surprised you side with Vox on anything.

This, after all, is the guy that claimed there's no such thing as date rape and that women are all evil socialists at heart. Not to mention he has this nasty little habit of calling anyone who disagrees with him "girls"... as if that's supposed to be an insult.

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. And my ass that Vox is agnostic about anything at all. If you don't believe the guy has an agenda, you've been fooled.

Anonymous said...

Now I remember why I don't read Vox . . . and especially why I don't read the comment threads . . .

the ignorance! it burns, it burns!

My favorite is the guy who insists that the serpent in the Garden is identified in Genesis as Satan, because his Amplified Bible tells him so . . . (although the bit about how we know it's Satan because the whole thing is obviously a messianic prophecy about Christ crushing Satan's head under his heel . . . )

Sigh . . .

-Dan S.

radar said...

Does Dembski's blog kick out people who disagree with him? Is that urban legend, or is there someone here who was excluded himself?

By the way, I acknowledge that a couple of you guys are actually scientists who know your fields and so I will disagree with your stance and your presuppositions but certainly not with your ability to speak to the subject. The "third-rate academic" line was from the article and not me.

Vox is not my best buddy. I consider him more of an outside observer and that he does not share my agenda. Therefore his agreement to a great extent with me is worth mentioning.

Dan S - "the ignorance! it burns, it burns!

My favorite is the guy who insists that the serpent in the Garden is identified in Genesis as Satan, because his Amplified Bible tells him so . . . (although the bit about how we know it's Satan because the whole thing is obviously a messianic prophecy about Christ crushing Satan's head under his heel . . . )"

Remember that I am the guy who knows his scripture? According to scripture, the serpent was Satan rather than some kind of talking snake. The word for Serpent in that case is Chakam Nachash, or wise, crafty, learned serpent or image of serpent. In Genesis 3:1 he is introduced: "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”" Later on in the passage he is identified as Satan himself and the prophetic statement is made, as you said. But pretty much any good, conservative Bible student would agree. Not because an Amplified Bible told him so, I would hope.

Anonymous said...

"Does Dembski's blog kick out people who disagree with him? Is that urban legend, or is there someone here who was excluded himself?"

]raises hand[
and I didn't even call anyone or anything adlepated - just standard issue if-we-adopt-ID-and-do-away-with-methodological-naturalism-America-will-fall-behind-in-global-competition alarmism . . .
(although frankly, we're doing badly enough that I don't know if it would really make that much difference . . .

" According to scripture, the serpent was Satan rather than some kind of talking snake."

But that isn't, as I understand it, stated explicitly in Genesis.

"In Genesis 3:1 he is introduced: "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made."

A text that - in English, anyway, you'll have to help me out with the Hebrew, I'm so bad at langauges I didn't have my bar mitzvah 'till I was 14, having needed to take an extra year learning Hebrew (and we're talking enough to reliably read, mostly from memory, a torah portion, not actual comprehension - raises some interesting questions. Is the serpent an animal made by God but merely not a beast of the field? Is the serpent not an animal made by God, but something entirely other (ie, Satan)? Is the serpent not made by God (not an option)? Something odd is going on, no question.

But Genesis 3:15 ("15: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." -KJV) can be read as a straightforward explanation of the current antagonistic state of affairs between snakes and people. Reading it as a specifically prophetic statement is a later Christian interpretation, I would think. But you know more about this than me -is there a specifically scriptural basis for this interpretation? Satan as the snake certainly is a reasonable reading, esp. given the reference in Ezekiel 28, but . . .?


Anyway, your post above about who you are is excellent - I see why you've been paid to write - and I will go comment there in a little bit - but, speaking of an entirely different garden, now I have to go move slate around the yard of the new house so we can dig new beds - it's spring!

-Dan S.

the blogbot word is loxes? Is that a whole lot of lox?

Anonymous said...

methodological-naturalism America will fall behind
in global competition alarmism, that is. (if it's not showing up right.

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"Does Dembski's blog kick out people who disagree with him? Is that urban legend, or is there someone here who was excluded himself?"

Not an urban legend, I can also testify to that. When I asked Dembski if his blog was having server problems (after seeing my comments disappear and no longer being able to post comments) and remarked that I didn't think he had booted me, because I had not posted anything objectionable (IIRC it was a polite question as to whether an ID hypothesis should be agreed upon before it could be taught in the classroom), he responded that he had indeed booted me, and would only let me back on under the condition that I never post more than two comments a day. And it wasn't like I had swamped the place before this - in total I had contributed exactly two comments up to that point.

So much for not being afraid of debate, eh? Dembski's blog sure shows the opposite.

IAMB said...

Does Dembski's blog kick out people who disagree with him? Is that urban legend, or is there someone here who was excluded himself?

[Hand raise]Ooh, me too! Banned and deleted (I really wasn't being that big of an ass either).[/hand]

The funny thing is that ban frequencies jumped more or less exponentially when Bill let DaveScot take the helm. Things have slowed down but there has been much speculation that Bill had to step in after Dave booted a few longtime supporters of Dembski's for disagreeing with him (with Dave, not with Bill).

The funniest thing, though, is that all the sites that Dave and Bill complain about (primarily Panda's Thumb and Pharyngula) have banned (last time I counted) less than ten people between both since they've been online (two years each).

DaveScot has the honor of having been banned from both (one of the only people Myers has ever booted). Despite what he might say about the issue (last time I checked it was that the PT people couldn't respond to his criticism and banned him in revenge), I can assure you that this was not the case. I was there... okay, I've been a PT regular since it started... he was banned for abusive, and I mean really abusive comments toward other posters (plus a threat to hack the site). They tried the disevowelment option for quite a while, and then Reed put an outright ban on his IP. He switched IPs and came back under another 'nym, was asked several times to leave, then told to leave, and finally the crew had to threaten him with a lawsuit to get him to stay out.

They put up with him clear until around April last year. Dembski, the man who likes to talk about science censoring dissent, won't put up with more than a couple dissenting comments before giving the axe.

You tell me who is more open to dissent.

The icing on the cake is that a couple of the people banned from PT still post there under different 'nyms and are allowed to continue (look for "blastfromthepast" and "Andy H" for examples). The only permanent bans I can think of off-hand are DaveScot and John A Davison (and they gave Davison his own thread called "Davison's Soapbox" for a while). The final straw with Davison was this comment (May 27, 2005: 0912):

This post is destined for oblivion in the Welsberry gas chamber as just another example of his Nazi tactics.

IAMB said...

Oh, for your amusement, here's the post that got DaveScot permanently banned at Panda's Thumb:

Comment #23038
Posted by DaveScot on April 2, 2005 09:30 PM (e)

H fckng sshls. plgz t Dvsn NW bfr gt pssd ff nd strt fckng wth . dn’t wnt t mk m md. Trst m n ths. r scrt scks bg tm.


I'll leave it up to the readers to add the vowels back in. Without them, the point is pretty clear anyway.

radar said...

"Anyway, your post above about who you are is excellent - I see why you've been paid to write - and I will go comment there in a little bit - but, speaking of an entirely different garden, now I have to go move slate around the yard of the new house so we can dig new beds - it's spring!"

Thanks for the nice words, Dan S

Creeper used to kind of tee me off until I got used to him and I no longer think of him as being abrasive, ha ha! Creeper, you may still be a few questions ahead of me I do keep trying to present more information and will continue to do so. No hiding on my part!

Anyway, I often use some of the ID information to bolster my scientific case but I certainly do not agree with either the Wedge strategy nor do I agree with banning posters who do believe differently than I.

If we don't allow the other side to speak, if it becomes censorship, then everybody loses.

That being said, I know for a fact that all the guys at ID the Future are not jerks. But it could well be that one or two of them are. This doesn't speak well of their manners or common sense. I mean, what are you afraid of????