Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shame on Uncommon Descent

Uncommon Descent is again proving to be a major embarrassment. Or, more accurately, it has not yet ceased its never ending pursuit of making a fool of itself. The state of affairs is so bad that I really don't know how other members of the ID community refrain from publically distancing themselves from the site's absurdity. It would be amusing if it were not for the fact that, by extension and association, Christianity is impugned in the process.

Let's review the recent travesties.

Without bothering to link (it's simply so pervasive that it cannot be missed) the "Dembski's Cat" paradox is out in full force. This is where "materialism," placed in a box, is both the greatest threat to mankind and, simultaneously, dead or near death. The box is opened at the start of each post—and the direction of the post depends on the observed collapse into one of two eigenstates—"powerful and evil" materialism or "stone cold dead at the hands of the design inference" materialism.

But let's get more specific.

On June 16th, Dembski posted on the mainstream science's difficulty in light of a "growing number of non-religious ID proponents." Personally I suspect that the "growing number" claim is a small numbers argument. The total number of credible non-religious ID proponents is in the single digits—and so it is plausible that the rate in which they trickle in exceeds the rate in which they die off or defect. At any rate, Dembski's new example, worthy of a post, is something called ICON-RIDS, which sounds like a whole group of atheist or agnostic IDers—and Dembski provides a link to their blog. (Funny aside: on their June 25 post, the ICON-RIDS blog thanks Dembski for his link, then flames him for, in other posts, vilifying atheists, arguing that Bill can't have it both ways.)

Just how impressive is this ICON-RIDS organization? And who are these non religious ID scientists? It appears to be the brainchild of just two people, E. J. Klone and, primarily, William Brookfield.

Brookfield, on his Institute of Transparadigmic Science website describes himself as a member of The Institute for Noetic Sciences, a nonprofit organization that conducts and sponsors "leading edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness." His credentials as an ID scientist seem to be that he published an ICSID (ID's self-refereed play journal that hasn't "published" for two years) article entitled In Search of a Cosmic Super-Law The Supreme "Second law" of Devolution. He also informs us, on his science website, that "Penny and I are living together!", and provides this helpful link.

E. J. Klone's scientific credentials are even more elusive. He introduces himself here.

For more depressing information on the "ID scientist" Brookfield, including his dabbling in "Pleasureism," look here.


But Uncommon Descent is not done. They've had a productive two weeks. In this post entitled "Teaching ID = A crime against humanity", Dembski comes to the defense of a jailed Lutheran pastor. In his lead-in Dembski writes:

Last week I reported on the Council of Europe denouncing ID as a threat to democracy (go here). I also asked how long it would be before advocating ID in Europe would be regarded as a hate-crime. We may have to wait no longer:

He then links to this article describing the incarceration of Johannes Lerle. The implication of Dembski's title and intro is that Lerle is in legal trouble for advocating ID. And who is this freedom fighter, this ID martyr?

A garden variety anti-Semitic holocaust denier who was jailed for that offense. (It is illegal, in Germany, to deny the holocaust.) He asserts that inadequate killing technology and the forensic evidence refute the claim that millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazis. More on this charming man on this blog and also here. Lerle is also staunchly anti-abortion, which seems to be sufficient reason for some to overlook his holocaust denial.

Shame on Uncommon Descent for making itself so easy to mock. Shame on them for putting some of us in a position that we link to atheist websites to provide the accurate information about the lunatic fringe claims they are making.


Clarification: On his website, Brookfield characterized his contribution to ISCID entitled "In Search of a Cosmic Super-Law The Supreme 'Second law' of Devolution" as a paper. In fact, it appears to be an ISCID forum posting. Truly I cannot grasp whether Dembski welcoming Brookfield into the ID fold when Brookfield misrepresents himself as having an ISCID paper in what is effectively Dembski's private journal (he is the "Executive Director" of ISCID) is good, bad, or simply par for the course. There are no precedents from which we can draw a baseline for this sort of thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment