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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:01 pm 
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Gadianton wrote:
Puck Mendelssohn wrote:
Incidentally, his blog now seems not to be accepting posts from me. They go up, but then get marked "Detected as Spam" and disappear from public view. Whether this is some sort of malfunctioning Disqus filter or something else, I am not sure.


Yes, a malfunction is likely.

Clearly, a malfunction of some sort caused Peterson to respond to puck with this:
peterson wrote:
PM: "[I]t . . . does not appear that you are terribly interested in a dialogue."

Then, since I've expressly said that I'm interested in a dialogue, it seems that you're calling me a liar -- an accusation that you appear to level quite freely and often.
And then, literally the next sentence, Peterson continued with this!
peterson wrote:
I never said that I was interested in engaging in such a dialogue myself right now.
:lol:
In my opinion, Puck, you have succeeded admirably in summing up the effect of Peterson's science-based blog entries with this:
Quote:
DCP: "I would enjoy seeing a discussion between your side and the other side. But if it's just going to be your side, I'm frankly much less interested."

And yet, you WERE interested in a discussion entirely composed of creationism: Bethell's book. So, you're interested in creationism but not in the rebuttal to it? That's certainly one way of arriving at a conclusion but it's not recommended.


Just as some background Puck, you may not be aware that Peterson was caught plagiarizing about a dozen blog entries in the last year, most of them science-based. In my opinion, he has plagiarized so much science content that his efforts recently to talk about science without plagiarizing are suffering from lack of practice at using his own words. :rolleyes:


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:02 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
I agree more or less with your idea about popularizers, but they also are useful to allow John Q. Public some context.


Oh, certainly. And if someone's only going to read one book on the subject, there's little point in reading anything but a friendly, general summary.

Philo Sofee wrote:
Harris's book which I mentioned however, is not anywhere near a popularizer book.


I'll have to look at that one. And re-reading my post I feel that I sounded as though I meant to cast aspersions on your list -- I really didn't, and just meant to say that a critique of something more scholarly (as Harris sounds to be) would be nice to see as opposed to just a reaction to something like Coyne's book.

Philo Sofee wrote:
Yes it was probably a glitch taking your posts off of Peterson's blog.


I think so. It seems that the spam-detector in Disqus is famous for inexplicable behavior.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:39 pm 
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Puck
I think so. It seems that the spam-detector in Disqus is famous for inexplicable behavior.


Especially when Peterson enables it against actual knowledgable people on science who show Peterson is in way over his head dog paddling in the deep end imagining he is racing in the Olympics using the back stroke.......... and winning.

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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:13 pm 
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Well, it seems clear at this point that he has no idea, and so he's resorting to tone-trolling: how uncivil it is to accuse the Discovery Institute of lying! Unfortunately, there is such a thing as not being afraid to speak the plain truth when it is in front of your face, and unfortunately, the Discovery Institute is one of the most dishonest anti-science organizations ever to exist. At least the old-school creationists didn't insist they had the merit of holding views that were legitimately scientific -- they just relied upon the authority of their scriptures, for better or for worse, and insisted that if science said something else, science must be mistaken. Mischaracterizing science, misattributing conclusions to scientific papers, quote-mining scientists to make it appear as though their views are not what they really are -- all of that is par for the course with the DI, and what's worse, they do it with a smarmy pseudo-sincerity which tends to fool people into thinking these are a respectable crew.

What's strangely sad is this: I really could understand someone of this caliber being taken in by a book like Darwin's Doubt, probably the best pack of lies ever peddled by the DI. Darwin's Doubt is for the most part fairly subtle, and the presentation is just complex enough to go over most people's heads science-wise, and I absolutely could understand a person with some education, but no familiarity with these sorts of things, being completely taken in by a work like that. Bethell is FAR below that level of quality -- there's not a decent freshman in a biology course today who couldn't reduce the book to shreds, and the fallacious nature of it really ought to be obvious to almost anyone.

I do hope he takes up the challenge one of the other posters gave him, and actually speaks to a biology professor at BYU. The friendliest reception I've ever seen a professor give to the DI is a smiling, eyes-rolling sort of reaction. The unfriendliest makes my attitude toward these things seem downright peaceful. As unpleasant as the creationists find my reviews of creationist books, I do have a couple of professor friends who wonder why I pull my punches.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:21 pm 
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puck, to DCP wrote:
If you have the sort of moral relativism that allows you to excuse lying by people you perceive as sharing your faith, so much the worse for you. If you have the kind of "political correctness" attitude that says nobody should ever call a liar a liar because it's ungracious, so much the worse for you. You could understand this subject; you choose not to, and it is your loss.

I think Puck has just discovered "Lying for the Lord."
philo wrote:
For some reason when non-Mormons publish it ain't nearly so grand or note-worthy.
:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:29 pm 
Sunbeam

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Lemmie wrote:
I think Puck has just discovered "Lying for the Lord."


Oh, I do wish I'd only just discovered it. How nice it would have been to get through my first 56 years without knowing about it.

The weird thing, though, is that "Lying for the Lord" so often begins with lying to oneself, and then passing it along to others. There is something a bit more respectable about those who clearly know they're lying, like Stephen Meyer or Jonathan Wells, than those who may not, like Tom Bethell. The cold calculation of the former is at least sort of interesting and audacious; someone like Bethell always reminds me of the remark, in Steinbeck's East of Eden -- something to the effect that there is nothing more pathetic than a whoremaster in love with his own whore.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:04 pm 
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Puck Mendelssohn wrote:
Lemmie wrote:
I think Puck has just discovered "Lying for the Lord."


Oh, I do wish I'd only just discovered it. How nice it would have been to get through my first 56 years without knowing about it.

The weird thing, though, is that "Lying for the Lord" so often begins with lying to oneself, and then passing it along to others. There is something a bit more respectable about those who clearly know they're lying, like Stephen Meyer or Jonathan Wells, than those who may not, like Tom Bethell. The cold calculation of the former is at least sort of interesting and audacious; someone like Bethell always reminds me of the remark, in Steinbeck's East of Eden -- something to the effect that there is nothing more pathetic than a whoremaster in love with his own whore.

I will disagree with you slightly on this, as it pertains to the blog host, as I think Peterson may, in certain lonely moments, realize he is lying. That realization can bring no self-respect, nor would I think anyone would consider it audacious, but rather as something terribly, terribly sad.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:57 am 
Sunbeam

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Ah, now he's threatened to ban me, and he may well do so. It would be funny were it not so sad to see a plainly learned man taken in by arguments which are primarily aimed at deceiving schoolchildren.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:05 pm 
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Puck Mendelssohn wrote:
Ah, now he's threatened to ban me, and he may well do so. It would be funny were it not so sad to see a plainly learned man taken in by arguments which are primarily aimed at deceiving schoolchildren.


On this same thread? What for? What was your offense?

Given your plight, Puck, I became curious about this book, which earlier I had no interest to read at any level, and I thumbed through a few of the free pages online. Now I get it. I get the blog author's attraction. I think it's been so long since any actual "learning" has taken place in his life, that it may have been forgotten what learning is all about. Allow me to explain.

The writing is very good, and the author isn't a bad storyteller. Others on this board will appreciate exactly what I'm driving at. Consider this, all from just page 11:

"One day I mentioned the problem to my philosophy tutor, E.J. Lemmon, who had studied under Alfred Tarski..."

"was something that the leading field of Oxford philosophy..."

"he was hired away by Claremont Graduate School..."

"I went to public lectures by Gilbert Ryle...I even attended a seminar by A. J. Ayer"

I stripped out the subject matter to highlight exactly what I suspect resonates with the primary staff writer at SeN, who also communicates through travel logs and name dropping.

But a note about that subject matter: Survival of the Fittest. First of all, who gives a rat's ass what Tarski, or Ryle, or Ayer or Karl Popper thinks when considering the following: Darwin spoke of mutation and selection, forced to extrapolate based on limited observations. And he nailed it. I don't believe that Darwin had the ability to study bacteria, but we can study bacteria very well now, and we know lots about how bacteria mutate and evolve under selective pressures found in hospitals, and we know that it's increasingly difficult to kill the fittest of these bacteria strains. Now, did I just speak in a circle? Does it really matter? Would anyone dispute the following: A key difference between bacterial cells and human cells is the cell wall found in bacteria. This cell wall is a relatively easy target for destruction, but within any large population of bacteria, a few, perhaps, are mutants that fortuitously absorb or neutralize our chemical weapons, and with their sibling bacteria destroyed, have all the food for themselves. Do we need to suggest anything but mutation and selection to account for the increasingly resistant hospital bacteria? Does ID have a different story, one that involves God's hand in the redesign of bacterial cell walls, such that more people die in hospitals? It doesn't matter if we draw a line at evolution between species, or call it micro and macro, or whatever, if bacteria evolve through mutation and selection with no extra interference, then the basic Darwinian mechanism is true. The outstanding questions then: are there other pathways to biological complexity, and which pathways account for plants, animals, and humans? But at once, all the rubbish about whether evolution is a tautology can be flushed.

Now having said that, I personally have spent more time on the philosophy side than the science side, and I do think the philosophical conversation is interesting, it's just that any idiot should know that science doesn't come to a standstill just because philosophers of science and epistemologists don't know how to define what science is or know exactly where to draw the line. His introduction to evolution, using Popper's despair over how to categorize evolution (Popper believed in evolution -- he also wasn't sure how to categorize history, and although I don't know for sure, I'm pretty certain he believed in history) is pseudo-science poisoning the well 101. What the author is doing is akin to writing a popular book on physics, and beginning it with a discussion of Hume's induction and a tour through logical positivism, name dropping famous professors who have uttered skeptical remarks about the ability to ground our knowledge of the outside world, and then speaking as if basic mechanics is controversial, a logical sham, and don't be surprised when balls quit bouncing within the next ten years.

I'll let those interested type "Popper" and "evolution" into Google and find much better accounts of Popper's position. The account in the book is way off, portraying Popper as thinking evolution is a sham, and then later in life under pressure, recanting, but really a disbeliever. Not. My point is that getting sucked into a conversation like that makes it sound like it matters at all, considering the countless examples of evolution in action available to us.

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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:21 pm 
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All good points.

The "tautology" thing actually has a simple answer: it just isn't a tautology. What they're talking about is a definition, in which two terms simply mean the same thing. Selection operates from differential survival: that something in the organism's environment favors some versions of the organism over others. "Survival of the fittest" is a term, and not a terribly well conceived one -- coined, I think, by Herbert Spencer, not Darwin -- which only describes that differential survival.

If we say that "the fittest survive; who are the fittest? Those who survive," that sounds like a tautology. It's not. It's simply an observation that there is such a thing as differential survival, but with a rephrasing to make the definition of differential survival sound like some sort of tautolgy. But that observation is not evolution, and is not, itself, an explanation for evolution. The simplest, original classic-Darwinian model of evolution is that there is differential survival AND heritability AND descent with modification. If you have differential survival without the others, nothing happens; it's one element of evolutionary theory. If you have differential survival and heritability, you have evolution towards stasis (assuming no change to the conditions which drive selection), without novelty; if you have all three, which is what the classic Darwinian model calls for and what nature indeed provides, you have evolution by natural selection.

It would be a tautology if what the theory of evolution sought to explain was "who survives?" and if its answer to this was "the fittest" and if the answer to the question "who are the fittest?" was "those who survive." But what evolutionary theory seeks to explain is modification of lineages over time. It proposes that differential survival of heritable characters, with injections of novelty, will do this. Any definition, such as a definition of differential survival, can be made to sound, to naïve ears, like a tautology. "A equals B. What is A? It's equal to B. What is B? It's equal to A." A equals B is a definition, hence the terms can be flipped; but that's not a tautology because it does not seek to explain A or B but merely notes their identity with one another.

As you point out, of course, we have many examples of just this sort of thing. Now, modern evolutionary theory is considerably more nuanced than that, and takes account of other considerations -- genetic drift, all of the principles of Mendelian inheritance, "canalization" of development within clades caused by such things as the evolution of developmental gene regulatory complexes, and so on. But so far as he went, Darwin pretty well nailed it. Anybody reasonably literate in this can make note of some things Darwin got wrong, but these core concepts remain important to -- but not sufficient to explain -- modern evolutionary theory.

And yes, Popper gets mischaracterized all the time through quote-mining. There are many examples of this -- people manage to extract quotes from Stephen Jay Gould that practically sound, ripped from their context, as though Gould denies that evolution happens at all. Bethell's book is pretty heavy with that sort of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:28 pm 
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And, just to add:

"Bad philosophy" is a creationist specialty. This makes a lot of sense if, like most of them, you somehow think that unaided reason is the magical path to knowledge. One sees a lot of "proofs" from creationists which purport to demonstrate, purely through elaborate verbal structuring, the impossibility of evolution, the existence of god, and the quirky shift behavior of a 1950 Borg-Warner three-speed.

These sorts of approaches have one aspect which creationists love: they are data-free. No need to access the real world, see how things behave, puzzle out the bones of some fossil fish -- just sit and think. Unfortunately, the sort of work they produce while thinking just serves to illustrate why empiricism is so doggoned useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:56 pm 
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Puck Mendelssohn wrote:
Ah, now he's threatened to ban me, and he may well do so. It would be funny were it not so sad to see a plainly learned man taken in by arguments which are primarily aimed at deceiving schoolchildren.


Hi, there, Puck. I've certainly enjoyed reading your responses to Dr. Peterson. And of course he's going to ban you. One thing that DCP cannot abide is looking foolish. Your response has been completely reasonable, too: you can clearly see where his knowledge is deficient, and to my mind, you've been incredibly civil in terms of trying to lay out the facts and set the record straight. Who knows what kind of an audience he has on "Sic et Non," but it's probably not healthy for him to be spreading "scientific" claims that are totally wrong. But, DCP cannot stand to admit--ever--that his knowledge is deficient. It doesn't matter if the topic is Tennessee-style barbecue, or Moroccan literature, or classified-growth Bordeaux, or Stalinist art, or the history of western Angola, or Uyghar throat singing. Don't you dare ever, ever suggest that Dr. Peterson might not know that much about any of these topics. That will earn you a banning, because his entire public persona is dependent upon this façade that he "knows all." (I don't know if you're familiar with his "Mormon Scholars Testify," a now-moribund site that was devoted to affirming Mormonism on the basis of the fact that people with advanced degrees are members of the faith.)

"Sic et Non"--the blog itself--is really pretty bizarre, when you think about it. What's the point? To defend Mormonism? Simply a public dumping grounds for DCP's musings? It's really neither of those things, since (a) not every posting has to do with Mormonism, and (b) there is obviously some other agenda or influencing force operating in the background, because otherwise, how can you explain some of the posts? He has been posting near-death experience posts for over a month now, I think, and all of these posts consist of maybe two or three sentences of Peterson's own writing, and then the rest (usually) consists of quotes from Pim van Lommel (and Dr. Peterson, even over the course of this past month, does not seem to have read beyond page 30. I wonder what the last book was that he actually read to the end?). What to make of this? These are not substantive posts--not by any measure. Do we interpret these as filler? He has to hit some Patheos-assigned quota and so he just throws this crap up, in order to get paid? Or is there a sort of grand, rhetorical "design" behind these posts--i.e., he assumes that if he just posts the same stuff over and over and over again, it will be persuasive? (Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where George would say "Co-stan-za!"--using the same rhythm as the old "By Men-nen!" ads--in order to get women to remember him?) One other possibility is that these posts are "bait" for commenters such as Gemli: DCP is obsessively posting these so that he can then get into a mockery war with Gemli. Who knows what the truth is?

In any case, my (very roundabout) point here is what you've probably already realized: DCP's blog is not intended as a place for open and substantive conversation. (His comment that he's "invited you to post substantively here" is one of the most laughable things I've ever read from him. Substance is the *last* thing he wants--especially if it's going to get in the way of the persona he's trying to craft and maintain.

But, hey: getting banned is a statement in and of itself. In the end, he censors anyone who represents a genuine challenge.

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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:18 am 
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edite: I see Mr. Peterson claims to have read the book:

Quote:
But please. I'm hoping from substantive comments from people who've actually read the book. Thus far, I'm apparently the only person here who actually HAS.


Does he discuss various chapters and portions of the book? I'm not really seeing. Perhaps I missed it trying to parse out the comments section.

- Doc


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:34 am 
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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Does he discuss various chapters and portions of the book? I'm not really seeing. Perhaps I missed it trying to parse out the comments section.


He doesn't. It appears to me that the only thing he's actually written about the book itself is this sentence:

"Bethell’s particular focus is on logical issues in Darwinism, and on natural selection as the purportedly sole and sufficient factor in speciation and perhaps, even, in the absolute origin of terrestrial life altogether."

This is a bit of a howler. I can't recall for certain whether Bethell does indeed pretend that someone thinks NS is the "sole and sufficient factor" in speciation or the origin of life -- that doesn't sound like something he said, but he did say some crazy things. But Peterson's lack of familiarity with the scientific consensus is really obvious here. NOBODY thinks that NS is the sole and sufficient factor in speciation or the origin of life -- nobody, nada, zip, zilch. A critique of this bizarre and unheard-of position is therefore the plainest sort of straw-man argument, and if that is what Peterson saw as Bethell's "particular focus," he ought to have realized the book was a crock and put it down then and there.

Doctor Scratch wrote:
Don't you dare ever, ever suggest that Dr. Peterson might not know that much about any of these topics.


Indeed! I am being accused of being uncivil, and it appears to me that his basis for this is (1) that when the DI lies, I point out that they are lying, and (2) that I suggest that if he actually knew some evolutionary biology, he wouldn't have been so easily fooled. Apart from that, the only other thing I see is that he pulled a hilarious "are you calling me a liar?" stunt when I pointed out that he was not interested in a dialogue. He feels it is an adequate response to that to say that he is interested in SEEING a dialogue but not in participating in one; how this makes my remark an accusation of lying is a mystery indeed.

I can't recall ever seeing a blogger open a discussion about a topic he was interested in, and then refuse so steadfastly to participate in any such discussion. I have tried to point out to him multiple problems, and he is unreceptive.

His nearest stab to a substantive response was to state that there are people whose credentials exceed mine and who think that ID Creationism has merit. If by "credentials" we mean only degrees, this is certainly true, but the list of people who have meaningful ongoing involvement in biological research for reputable institutions who think this has only one member: Michael Behe, whose published research does not bear on ID Creationism one way or another but who has written books about it that other biologists have mostly ignored -- apart from the few who have bothered to offer scorn and criticism. Peterson does seem to be a "credentialist," though, in the mold of Franz Liebkind: "I am ze author. You are ze audience. I outrank you!" He supposes that if someone with a Ph.D says something, it must at least have arguable merit.

The funny thing, of course, is that this is exactly the standard script of the DI, which has fooled very few people who are well educated. Since no scientific case can actually be made for ID Creationism but books are still written and arguments are still made, they've decided to emphasize the idea that there is a "controversy," and argue that this "controversy" is the sort of thing we ought to teach high school students about because it will show them how science works. A key element of this is showing that there are people with Ph.Ds who are promoters of ID Creationism, ergo there's a dispute between scientists. But in fact, there is no dispute here between scientists -- there's a dispute between science and a rag-tag bunch of mostly unemployable cranks who have Ph.Ds. The distinction they hope people will miss is that one's meaningful "credentials" in science are one's work, not one's degrees.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:53 am 
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Puck Mendelssohn wrote:
I can't recall ever seeing a blogger open a discussion about a topic he was interested in, and then refuse so steadfastly to participate in any such discussion. I have tried to point out to him multiple problems, and he is unreceptive.


DP used to have his horrible arguments get beat down in places like MD's. Then discovered having his own blog site meant he could control the conversation and ban anything he did not like. This is a huge tell he is not all that interested in real dialogue as much as people cheer leading what he has to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:33 pm 
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Puck Mendelssohn wrote:
I can't recall ever seeing a blogger open a discussion about a topic he was interested in, and then refuse so steadfastly to participate in any such discussion. I have tried to point out to him multiple problems, and he is unreceptive.

His nearest stab to a substantive response was to state that there are people whose credentials exceed mine and who think that ID Creationism has merit. If by "credentials" we mean only degrees, this is certainly true, but the list of people who have meaningful ongoing involvement in biological research for reputable institutions who think this has only one member: Michael Behe, whose published research does not bear on ID Creationism one way or another but who has written books about it that other biologists have mostly ignored -- apart from the few who have bothered to offer scorn and criticism. Peterson does seem to be a "credentialist," though, in the mold of Franz Liebkind: "I am ze author. You are ze audience. I outrank you!" He supposes that if someone with a Ph.D says something, it must at least have arguable merit.

The funny thing, of course, is that this is exactly the standard script of the DI, which has fooled very few people who are well educated. Since no scientific case can actually be made for ID Creationism but books are still written and arguments are still made, they've decided to emphasize the idea that there is a "controversy," and argue that this "controversy" is the sort of thing we ought to teach high school students about because it will show them how science works. A key element of this is showing that there are people with Ph.Ds who are promoters of ID Creationism, ergo there's a dispute between scientists. But in fact, there is no dispute here between scientists -- there's a dispute between science and a rag-tag bunch of mostly unemployable cranks who have Ph.Ds. The distinction they hope people will miss is that one's meaningful "credentials" in science are one's work, not one's degrees.


Fascinating insights, Puck. I think you nailed Peterson. He isn't trying to have a substantive discussion about ID. He isn't trying to learn anything about it. And he isn't trying to prove it's right. He knows it is an argument he can't win. So, he is playing for the draw. His only objective is to point to stuff written by creationists with credentials to provide some evidence that their positions are respectable views in mainstream academics, all the while maintaining plausible deniability regarding what he actually believes.

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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:07 pm 
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Quote:
Puck
apart from the few who have bothered to offer scorn and criticism. Peterson does seem to be a "credentialist," though, in the mold of Franz Liebkind: "I am ze author. You are ze audience. I outrank you!" He supposes that if someone with a Ph.D says something, it must at least have arguable merit.


Spot on. A little more background, since it appears to me you are one substantial thinker! One of Peterson's all time heroes, was Hugh Nibley, who ironically was absolutely against Peterson's thinking of if they have a degree, their knowledge is greater. Just wow, the irony, I say the irony!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:19 pm 
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So, I'm up for starting a 'Puck Mendelssohn' dead pool. Anyone want to make or take a bet?

- Doc


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:29 pm 
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This is interesting:

"Bethell’s particular focus is on logical issues in Darwinism, and on natural selection as the purportedly sole and sufficient factor in speciation and perhaps, even, in the absolute origin of terrestrial life altogether."

From reading several pages at the beginning of the book, there is a great deal of tension within this comment. If Darwinism is pure fallacy, a mere restatement of assumptions, then natural selection can't account for anything at all, let alone speciation. But if natural selection is part of the true story about speciation, as the second clause seems to imply, then it isn't circular.

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"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:09 pm 
God

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:25 pm
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So I returned to the blog entry in question, to read Puck's last few entries, when I ran across this:
Peterson wrote:
To put it mildly, I wasn't positively impressed with "Prop 8's" stunt below. And then, when, after three days of discreet silence, he reappeared with an utterly disingenuous "mea culpa" that was actually designed to stick a finger in my eye, I decided that I'd finally had enough.

I don't like to ban people, but I've banned Prop 8 and I've deleted his snide pseudo-apology....
Fascinating. Peterson has been caught plagiarizing at least a dozen times in the last year, and for very few of those, he grudgingly apologized, implying that it was the fault of his enemies, as though being caught plagiarizing was a bigger issue than the actual plagiarizing, and therefore not his fault.

Prop 8 used Peterson's actual words from one of those grudging admissions of plagiarism in his post, so to now see Peterson define his own work as an "utterly disingenuous 'mea culpa', and a "snide pseudo-apology" is ironic.


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 Post subject: Re: Peterson Challenges Everyone to Read THIS book!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:15 pm 
Sunbeam

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:49 pm
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Analytics wrote:
He isn't trying to learn anything about it. And he isn't trying to prove it's right. He knows it is an argument he can't win. So, he is playing for the draw. His only objective is to point to stuff written by creationists with credentials to provide some evidence that their positions are respectable views in mainstream academics, all the while maintaining plausible deniability regarding what he actually believes.


One sees that a lot, actually. Some creationists like to play at a sort of "golly, I don't know the answer, but this sure seems like a serious challenge" game. Occasionally one of these really does turn out not to be a creationist -- just an addle-headed eccentric -- but some of them really think this is a winning rhetorical tactic because they can pretend to be above the argument and merely interested in its outcome. They like to do things like this blog post -- throw the stink-bomb into the room and see what happens.

Philo Sofee wrote:
One of Peterson's all time heroes, was Hugh Nibley, who ironically was absolutely against Peterson's thinking of if they have a degree, their knowledge is greater.


I find that most creationists flip easily from adopting credentialism when it helps (how DARE a mere lawyer criticize a Ph.D in the Philosophy of Science?) and being offended by it when it doesn't (how DARE someone who has merely spent five decades closely studying every aspect of vertebrate life tell me that a platypus is not a duck/beaver hybrid? The experts don't know everything!).

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
So, I'm up for starting a 'Puck Mendelssohn' dead pool. Anyone want to make or take a bet?


I am torn between the answer being "just wait five minutes" and "never." I think he's aware that it'd look bad. I just about blew coffee through my keyboard when he said how incredibly patient he's been with me. I am sure he must realize how incredibly patient I have been with him, and with ridiculous remarks like that.

Gadianton wrote:
From reading several pages at the beginning of the book, there is a great deal of tension within this comment. If Darwinism is pure fallacy, a mere restatement of assumptions, then natural selection can't account for anything at all, let alone speciation. But if natural selection is part of the true story about speciation, as the second clause seems to imply, then it isn't circular.


True. To amplify a bit what I've said about this, and explain:

Some people are prone to use "evolution" and "natural selection" as synonyms, and it's best not to because they simply don't mean the same things. NS is an evolutionary process but it can't account for everything. A great example of this is, in fact, speciation, where one species becomes two. While one CAN have a speciation event involving a single mixed population splitting (and there are particular causes, e.g, chromosomal fusions, which can help to drive that in the right circumstances by creating inconsistent interfertility within the population), the dominant mode of speciation seems to be what we call "allopatric speciation." In allopatric speciation, some sub-population of the existing species becomes reproductively isolated -- often by some environmentally-caused barrier -- and this smaller, peripheral isolate is liable to change rapidly. Why? Because stabilizing selection is weaker in small populations, the available variation in a small population may already be nearly as great as in the large population, genetic drift is stronger, founder effects are stronger, and time for a mutation to fix in the population is much shorter. Couple that with the fact that peripheral isolates may (though they need not) be living in habitats that are marginal for the species and therefore may be subject to selective pressures different from that of the main population, and enough time of the two groups being separate will cause speciation to the point that the two groups will, if re-introduced to one another, not just recombine.

So while NS is surely a PART of that speciation formula, the allopatric speciation model is driven by other considerations: contingency of various sorts, environmental change, population genetic principles. NS alone is unlikely to bring it about. All of this is completely standard stuff -- widely accepted and widely known -- so the idea that there are biologists who assert, as in that quote, that NS is the "sole and sufficient factor in speciation" is just ridiculous.

As for NS and the origin of terrestrial life: I'm not sure what is meant here. "Terrestrial" life normally refers to life on land, but I think the intended subject may be abiogenesis, as in "life on Terra." If abiogenesis is meant, it's generally agreed that NS cannot, by the nature of the thing, do anything to generate novelty. Novelty is generated by other processes. If one has, as creationists generally do, a sort of "poof--there it is" conception of the origin of life, then NS can't be involved in that at all but begins to be involved after. If one holds to a less naïve view of abiogenesis, obviously, NS starts to apply as soon as you have some sort of replicator capable of what Darwin called "descent with modification," but not at the beginning -- NS cannot be the "sole and sufficient" cause of that.

If, on the other hand, "terrestrial life" means the emergence of land-dwelling tetrapods (creationists seem not to usually care about the various invertebrates who colonized the land before we did), NS surely was a large factor there, but again, not the "sole and sufficient" one. Speciation is enormously important here; ecological opportunity (e.g., lots of arthropods, already living the terrestrial lifestyle, to eat) is very important. And contingency: what would have happened had there been no lobe-finned fish bearing the sorts of limb structures that could evolve into tetrapod legs? Developmental processes are huge, then: what kinds of modifications did the developmental regulatory networks need in order to make digits? What did they need in order to transition toward these limbs being weight-bearing, with pelvis and shoulder girdle structures? A lot of this sort of thing is being unfolded, bit by bit, today; we now know that there are unsuspected homologies that help account for the once-mysterious appearance of the digits, for example.

But, again: who thinks that NS is the "sole and sufficient" driver of that? Nobody, that's who. And yet Peterson thinks that debunking this idea that nobody actually holds is somehow important?

When people don't understand evolutionary theory, though, they're liable to think that NS is supposed to be responsible for everything. And demonstrating that NS CANNOT be responsible for everything is easy, so this sort of thing makes for a very handy form of straw-man argument. The problem, of course, is that while it may fool Peterson it will fool nobody who has even cracked the spine of a book on actual biology.


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