Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Remember when Uncommon Descent was worth visiting?

Ah—sweet nostalgia—a post on Uncommon Descent that harkens back to the good old days when Dembski would post Harold Camping-like prophetic utterings about the precise moment the ToE would die a thousand painful deaths. Or the "Brites" would provide hideous, amateurish, and sometimes grotesque photoshop caricatures. Or the famous Judge Jones Flash video with gastrointestinal sound effects. Sigh.  I could go on and on, but eventually the weight of nostalgia becomes overwhelming.

I don’t visit UD much anymore—it has become more or less irrelevant and, even worse,  boring. The site really misses the pugnacious DaveScot—without whom UD is not only devoid of scientific value, but it also lacks entertainment value—and I mean that as a genuine compliment to DaveScot. His often outrageous  posts and comments and internecine warfare  made UD one of my daily must stops—even long after I was banned.

But now—we have this gem of post by someone named GilDodgen (what is it with UD and conjoined bylines?) who who has a theory as to why his UD posts generate many comments:
My thesis is that people like me, a former materialist atheist, who have been influenced by logic, reason, and evidence (i.e., the ID movement) represent the greatest threat to the reigning nihilistic and anti-intellectual Darwinian orthodoxy.
Yes, I can see that. I can imagine Richard Dawkins experiencing bladder control problems just thinking about the threat named GilDodgen . 
Can you say "Street Theater?"


  1. Anonymous3:53 AM

    Wow neat! This is a really great site! I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
    similar in the past? Keep up the great work!

  2. Hm, You haven't been to AtBC recently either, have you? There's a full GilDodgen UD post classification scheme: this one was immediately flagged as an E2.

  3. David: About a year or so ago I decided to spend some time looking into the biological evidence for evolution. Being a geologist, I was familiar with the fossil record etc., but the biology aspects, especially the genetic evidence I was not even at layman's level. So I'd read Collins and Biologos, Matheson,Kidder,Prothero, and at the same time would read UD and other contrary viewpoints. You are right, UD has become an embarrasment and that GilDodgen post was the worst. Not only do the TE's have a better science argument, but the abysmal counter-arguments of UD, AIG, ICR, etc. have themselves have been totally counter-productive. I know you've recently come to a TE conclusion yourself, I was wondering if you'd share that thought process on your blog and maybe talk about some of the theological problems that TE raises.
    Mike the Geologist

  4. Mike,

    I don't know--I was of course most influenced simply by learning more evolutionary theory. And then by people like Collins, and great theologians from the past such B. B. Warfield. All in all it would be a tough story to tell since there was no epiphany.

    Maybe some day.

  5. Anonymous11:11 AM

    The Gold medal 3 Years of Alliance

    * In the first place year of marriage, the squire speaks and the helpmeet listens.
    * In the right hand year, the girlfriend speaks and the fetters listens.
    * In the third year, they both speak and the neighbors listen.

    . [url=]Kuwentong bayan examples[/url] . [url=]Amazon backpacks[/url] . [url=]Full persian bayan[/url] . [url=]Mens beige velcro casual shoes[/url] . [url=]Pagkakaiba ng tugmang bayan at alamat[/url] . [url=]Dictionary beige[/url] . [url=]Niversite mezunu bayan astsubay al m[/url] . [url=]Persian bayan whole thing[/url] . [url=]Le cave di marmo tile beige[/url] . [url=]Advance xp backpack vacuum 1.7 horsepower[/url]

  6. Sadly, Uncommon Descent resides almost entirely on the 1-dimensional axis that runs from embarrassing to boring. I stopped reading it for the most part in Davescot's heydey because it was so embarrassing, and now I read it even less because it's boring.

    I'd be interested in what Mike the Geologist asks about too - not so much your TE "testimony" but what your perspective is. I've found that the TE rubrik encompasses a pretty broad range of beliefs - ranging from the orthodox to the questionably theistic - so it's hard to tell what somebody means when they self-identify as one.

    At the basic, most obvious level, I interpret TEism to just mean that God set up and guided evolutionary descent to accomplish his goal of creating man (and other animals), which I think is pretty orthodox and describes my own position.

    On the other hand, guys like Ayala will argue that God *didn't* guide evolution, that the appearance that man and other animals were intended is an illusion, and that this gets God "off the hook" for all the unpleasant things resulting from evolution - an idea which I'm pretty sure constitutes heresy.

    Guys like Collins are (I think) closer to my camp, while I think guys like Miller are closer to Ayala's, but it's hard to tell, and they often seem to give out conflicting indications and rarely spell it out explicitly.

    And there are a host of other question's I'm always interested to see a TE's position on, such as what they think of the Adam and Eve story, how they deal with evolutionary psychology (particularly those branches of it that seek to explain our moral sense and our spiritual sense as the byproducts of unintended material causes, rather than an awareness of actual moral laws or spiritual reality), and so forth.