Friday, January 16, 2015

Especially if they are true; it's best to keep it hush hush

Some months ago an American philosopher explained to a highly sophisticated audience in Britain what, in his opinion, was wrong, indeed fatally wrong, with the standard neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution. He made it crystal clear that his criticism was not inspired by creationism, intelligent design or any remotely religious motivation. A senior gentleman in the audience erupted, in indignation: ‘You should not say such things, you should not write such things! The creationists will treasure them and use them against science.’ The lecturer politely asked: ‘Even if they are true?’ To which the instant and vibrant retort was: ‘Especially if they are true!’ with emphasis on the ‘especially’. (HT: Crude) 

Here

Once again, just for fun, I am including a link to the Pistol Annies' song "Hush Hush." 

Hush hush don't you dare say a word
Hush hush don't you know the truth hurts
Hush hush when push comes to shove
It's best to keep it hush hush
Best to keep it hush hush


30 comments:

im-skeptical said...

Here we go again. Science deniers trying to turn science into a religion. Only the religious would apply the term 'blasphemy' to those who dispute well-established science. I think a more appropriate term might be 'ignorant', or 'uninformed'. Such is the case with What Darwin Got Wrong.

http://bostonreview.net/ned-block-philip-kitcher-misunderstanding-darwin-natural-selection

Of course, reading this nonsense does give religious people a sense that they have ammunition against evolution science. And it might be, especially if it were true.

But there is nobody out there trying to enforce any kind of blasphemy laws to keep you hushed. Only in your mind.

Leonhard said...

You just proved their article right im-skeptical.

Hal said...

The article Victor linked to is full of rhetorical fluff. It provided no serious argument for their critique of evolutionary theory.

The one im-skeptical linked to detailed the serious flaws in Fodor's and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini's book.

Crude said...

The article Victor linked to is full of rhetorical fluff. It provided no serious argument for their critique of evolutionary theory.

I doubt Victor is endorsing Fodor's perspective. But the quoted exchange helps illustrate an attitude towards evolutionary theory that is unhealthy and anti-science.

Can we agree on that?

im-skeptical said...

The quoted exchange is purely fictitious. It is a clever marketing ploy designed to provoke the sensibilities of religious believers, in the hopes that they will buy the book.

And before you try to tell me that Fodor is an atheist, I know that. He's also smart enough to know that there's a huge market for this kind of stuff.

Crude said...

The quoted exchange is purely fictitious. It is a clever marketing ploy designed to provoke the sensibilities of religious believers, in the hopes that they will buy the book.

Bold charge, little man. Your evidence?

im-skeptical said...

Bold charge? Piattelli-Palmarini makes a bold charge of his own. It is interesting that you don't seek any evidence for what he claims (and he doesn't give any). How gullible you are.

Crude said...

"Bold charge? Piattelli-Palmarini makes a bold charge of his own."

*Which a book was spent arguing for and giving evidence of.*

"It is interesting that you don't seek any evidence for what he claims (and he doesn't give any)."

I am not the one making claims, you intellectual joke.

You said he's lying about the experience to sell books. Where's your evidence? Saying 'But he made a claim without evidence too' doesn't get you off the hook.

Here's a prediction: You have no evidence, and won't provide any.

And your response will be yet more evidence. ;)

Kathen said...

There is something odd about Piattelli-Palmarini's story. Why are we given no names? Who was this American philosopher? Where was this audience in Britain? In what sense were they 'highly sophisticated'? Who was the 'senior gentleman'?

Even if the story is true is it possible that 'Especially if they are true!' was meant as a joke? How did the audience react? Did they laugh?

With the steady increase in the number of Muslims in England Creationism is on the rise but I have yet to meet any biologists who are seriously worried by it.

I have looked for other accounts online of this meeting and have failed to find any. Does anyone else know anything more about it?

Crude said...

Kathen,

With the steady increase in the number of Muslims in England Creationism is on the rise but I have yet to meet any biologists who are seriously worried by it.

Go back to the original quote: "The creationists will treasure them and use them against science."

It's not like the worry here is that biologists will suddenly accept a YEC's version of origins. It's that criticisms of Neo-Darwinism are seen as emboldening creationists and others, who are likewise critics of Neo-Darwinism.

An example of this in a far more obvious way: do you happen to remember the reaction to this cover?

There was a whole lot of 'how DARE you say Darwin was wrong, and right on the cover! The creationists will take that and use it as ammo!'

Hell, in this very thread you have Skep upset at the authors because he sees their book as giving aid and comfort to the dreaded enemy. This is aside from his conspiracy theories.

Rather some evidence that the attitude the guy is talking about exists, eh?

im-skeptical said...

"in this very thread you have Skep upset at the authors because he sees their book as giving aid and comfort to the dreaded enemy."

Sorry, you're wrong about that. Science has absolutely nothing to fear from religious and pseudo-scientific hucksters. The truth is what it is, and that's what science seeks, no matter what the truth may be. I call out bullshit when I see it, and you, sir, are full of it.

Ginobili said...

Adopting a line of thought presented in this thread, I refuse to believe that im-skeptical is really an atheist. I think it's far more likely that he's a theist posing as an inept atheist in order to give modern atheism a bad name. That's what I believe. The alternative is just far too depressing.

Crude said...

Sorry, you're wrong about that.

Of course, reading this nonsense does give religious people a sense that they have ammunition against evolution science.

Skep, you can't even keep your own words in order. You don't understand science - you're fucking terrified of the possibility it may upend anything you praise. Which is why you avoid it at all costs, and only read about it via Cult of Gnu sources that sterilize it of any BadThought(tm). Poor fellow.

Ginobili,

I think it's far more likely that he's a theist posing as an inept atheist in order to give modern atheism a bad name.

Oh ho no, no. He's not on team theist. Team atheist is stuck with him! Don't try giving us this particular anchor.

im-skeptical said...

Hey, crude - did you ever read that issue of New Scientist? Not just the cover, but what it says inside. It's talks about you, and what a moron you are. Read it here.

Aragorn said...

I'm sorry, but until the American lecturer is named, I'm going to have to say BS.

Victor Reppert said...

OK, so no one ever says "Don't criticize Darwinian biology, it might give creationists and ID advocates bulletin board material?"

I-S you say only religious people use the word "blasphemy" to refer to opposition to Darwin? The guy who wrote the article says he's and atheist. No, people aren't using blasphemy laws, but they seem to want to say that if you point out what you think are problems with Darwinian biology you shouldn't say those things because ID defenders might gain support because of it? Now Fodor, or Nagel, may be right or wrong in their criticisms of evolutionary theory, but to quash certain claims and questions because it might give aid and comfort to creationists and ID supporters is, I think harmful. If there are substantial errors in Fodor, then isn't it enough to point those out? I mean, what about things like Simon Blackburn saying that Nagel's book should be on the Index of Forbidden Books?

Hal said...

I mean, what about things like Simon Blackburn saying that Nagel's book should be on the Index of Forbidden Books?

Simon was joking.

All of this is PR fluff surrounding our current culture wars. And you are contributing to it. Which is not surprising given your advocacy of ID.


As John Zammito remarked in his discussion of Nagel's book:
Even if meant as a joke, Blackburn’s remark was sufficient incitement to the intelligent design community to anoint Nagel as a heroic heretic persecuted by an entrenched materialist orthodoxy. It enabled advocates of intelligent design to twist the whole reception of the book into what might be called the “heresy” discourse, which has in fact dominated all subsequent reactions.

His article can be found at:
http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2013_Fall_Zammito.php

im-skeptical said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
im-skeptical said...

"I'm sorry, but until the American lecturer is named, I'm going to have to say BS."

Where was this lecturer named? You can call BS all you like, but it doesn't make you right.


"to quash certain claims and questions because it might give aid and comfort to creationists and ID supporters is, I think harmful."

It's also completely fictitious. Nobody in the science community is quashing anything. Crude's reference to New Scientist just goes to show exactly the opposite of what he intended. When there is a legitimate finding in science that disputes Darwin, it's not hushed. It's not labeled blasphemy. It's front-page news. It's openly discussed, and even celebrated as a new discovery in science. The whole premise of Piattelli-Palmarini's article is pure bullshit, made to appeal to a religious audience.

Papalinton said...

Victor, I wouldn't get too carried away. The principles of Darwinian evolution are here to stay, period. It always will be a function of theology and scientifically-uninformed philosophy, such as that of Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, which must eventually align with and/or necessarily conform to the now-established empirical wisdom and epistemological rigour of Darwinian evolution which has now been firmly and fundamentally established.

Try as they might, and are entitled to do, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini's "What Darwin Got Wrong" is largely an exercise at the intellectual periphery and does not pose any threat to or serious attempt at challenging the explanatory power of Darwinian evolution as a working model of reality.

And your implication of Skep attempting "to quash certain claims and questions because it might give aid and comfort to creationists and ID supporters" is a touch of overwrought hyperbole.

You have a pathology for cobbling out some narrative by reference to such unrepresentative authors as Fodor, Piattelli-Palmarini, Nagel etc etc as if there is a substantive case to be made against a range of particular realities, such as Darwinian evolution, the truth of which causes you deep and abiding anxiety. Of course, it is not Darwinian evolution that is the cause of this anxiety. It is the belief and reliance on supernatural superstition as a basis for explanation that has that effect on a person.

Aragorn said...

I wasn't referring to you @ im-skeptical, I was referring to the OP and the absence of the name of the American lecturer makes me suspicious that it's fiction.

im-skeptical said...

My apology. I misread your comment.

WMF said...

the chief creationism defender and anti-atheist crusader among them brings out his best evidence for the bankruptcy of Darwinist theory: the buzz generated by the cover of New Scientist that boldly declares "Darwin Was Wrong".

You might want to take a few lessons in basic reading comprehension. Crude is not a "creationism defender" and the cover was not put forward as evidence that Darwin was wrong, but as an example of a controversy.

When there is a legitimate finding in science that disputes Darwin, it's not hushed. It's not labeled blasphemy. It's front-page news. It's openly discussed, and even celebrated as a new discovery in science.

Reading comprehension 101: Are the following people celebrating?

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/21/new-scientist-flips-the-bird-a/

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/the-new-scientist-has-no-shame-again/

im-skeptical said...

"Crude is not a "creationism defender""

Crude is a creationism defender. We have repeatedly argued about the merits of the work of Behe, Meyer, etc. And ID is certainly a form of creationism.

"the cover was not put forward as evidence that Darwin was wrong, but as an example of a controversy."

You need to brush up on your own reading comprehension skills. Crude said: "It's that criticisms of Neo-Darwinism are seen as emboldening creationists and others ..." But the magazine wasn't criticizing "Neo-Darwinism" at all. It was poking fun at creationist idiots - a point that was completely lost on crude (and apparently on you). There was never any controversy about the science behind this, or any effort to keep it quiet. It was all about the provocative way the magazine presented it.

"Are the following people celebrating?"

As I pointed out, the controversy had nothing to do with the science, but about the magazine provoking idiots. Yes, scientists do celebrate their discoveries. And no, I don't agree with Myers on a whole variety of issues, including this one.

Crude said...

Hey, crude - did you ever read that issue of New Scientist? Not just the cover, but what it says inside.

Hey, Skep - did YOU ever read that issue of New Scientist?

Did you notice the reactions to the Cult of Gnu at the time?

They didn't say 'Oh, this is quite fine. They're not endorsing creationism, they're just saying Darwin was wrong about this particular thing.' It was, "They said Darwin was wrong! That's going to give those horrible creationists ammo! You should NEVER say that, and even if you do, you should never be blunt - you have to word it in a very special way that..!"

And wmf's links - thanks, by the way, wmf - display that beautifully.

By the way, Skep? The central article featured little gems like these as well:

"Even so, it is clear that the Darwinian tree is no longer an adequate description of how evolution in general works. "If you don't have a tree of life, what does it mean for evolutionary biology?" asks Bapteste. "At first it's very scary... but in the past couple of years people have begun to free their minds." Both he and Doolittle are at pains to stress that downgrading the tree of life doesn't mean that the theory of evolution is wrong - just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like to believe. "

"Others, however, don't think it is time to relax. Instead, they see the uprooting of the tree of life as the start of something bigger. "It's part of a revolutionary change in biology," says Dupré. "Our standard model of evolution is under enormous pressure. We're clearly going to see evolution as much more about mergers and collaboration than change within isolated lineages."

See, Skep - I, and plenty of others, know that to criticize Darwinism, to criticize mainstream evolutionary theory, to even say 'Darwin was wrong' does not mean to advance that creationism is right.

You, and your idols, can't accept that. For you, speaking the truth is secondary to your perpetual culture war, and if you have to shit all over science to defend said culture, you'll do so.

Actually, no, I go too far. See, to understand that you were shitting all over science in your slavish devotion to your Cult of Gnu idols, you'd have to have understood science itself. All indication is you have no fucking idea about the basic limits and concepts of science, to say nothing of what's actually going on in mainstream research. Your interest in evolutionary biology extends entirely to snippets you can quote (to either promote or attack) on blogs. When that scary, scary Christian faith isn't up, you couldn't give two shits about science. It's all too complicated and boring for you.

Now quick - run to Jerry Coyne's blog, or some other Cult of Gnu shithole, for succor. But stay away from an actual scientist textbook, or even periodical. There's nothing in there you can comprehend, much less find interesting. ;)

im-skeptical said...

You're right, crude. I was wrong about how moronic you are. You are far more of an idiot than I thought.

Not only do you react to that headline in exactly the way they predicted you would, but when it is pointed out to you, you double down on your ignorant position.

"See, Skep - I, and plenty of others, know that to criticize Darwinism, to criticize mainstream evolutionary theory, to even say 'Darwin was wrong' does not mean to advance that creationism is right."

You don't know how to read, you have absolutely no idea what the mainstream position is, and you don't know what the debate was about.

Crude said...

Not only do you react to that headline in exactly the way they predicted you would,

See, Skep, this is why you're always great to tease - because you always take the tack that if you just double down and re-commit the same fucking mistake with pride, that no one will notice you're clueless.

Surprise! No, your science-ignorance is on display as usual.

Just as Fodor and his co-writer pointed out with their example, people cannot stand when Darwin or Darwinism is criticized. They regard the very act of bluntly saying 'Darwin was wrong' as threatening. So P-P tells a story, and you wharble about how he totally made that up, with no fucking evidence.

I point out that New Scientist ran a cover about Darwin being wrong, and the reaction of the Cult of Gnu to Darwin being criticized? You run off and scream about how there was an editorial in the magazine saying that this doesn't mean creationism is right, or even that creationism's case is advanced.

Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. That's not just my point, it's also Fodor's and his co-author's. They were calling for people to relax, and stop being perpetually paranoid whenever it's admitted that yes, Darwin was wrong about various things, that theories and understandings need to be revised, that there are revolutionary changes that take place even in biology. Yet the Cult of Gnu and would-be "science defenders" always shit their pants when this is done.

Just like the idiot anti-science atheists did when New Scientist ran that cover - and the examples could be multiplied.

Oh, by the way.

Crude is a creationism defender. We have repeatedly argued about the merits of the work of Behe, Meyer, etc. And ID is certainly a form of creationism.

Hahaha. Our arguments involved me saying that ID isn't science, but explaining that you had no fucking clue what ID is. Remember when you kept insisting that your 'ID has to say evolution was false, guided evolution is totally unacceptable!' reading of Behe was wrong, and I flat out wrote to Behe and he said as much? Priceless.

How's it feel, Skep - knowing that not only are you piss-poor at understanding science, or at basic reasoning (Please, try to shore up your accusation that P-P's story was all a lie to sell books), but that even when it comes to criticizing ID, not only are you pathetic... but I do a better job of it than you?

By the way, Skep - Darwin was wrong about the tree of life. And while it may piss you off to admit it, that's the mainstream scientific view. ;)

Crude said...

Remember when you kept insisting that your 'ID has to say evolution was false, guided evolution is totally unacceptable!' reading of Behe was wrong, and I flat out wrote to Behe and he said as much? Priceless.

Rather, Skep kept insisting that his reading was right, despite people pointing out the flaws in his reasoning.

As I said, Skep - be sure to run to another atheist blog to get another "science" lesson, because apparently that is your sole source for actually reading up about not just this, but any controversial topic. ;)

im-skeptical said...

Oh, by the way.

Your understanding of ID is no better than your understanding of science.

Crude said...

Your understanding of ID is no better than your understanding of science.

Poor Skep. This is the best you can do? You'd think with all the times I've shown you to be pig ignorant of science and ID both, you'd have devoted effort to reading up on either.

But we both know that's way outside your capabilities. ;)