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| Thursday, June 02, 2005

Orac Poke

Orac:

      Ah, thank you, you have advanced the argument, by saying something different.  Of course, what you say is mostly wrong, but advances must be taken where one can find them.

      First, if you use the search function of your web browser, you'll find that you mentioned me not twice, but five times before I commented.  And you apparently expected me to show up and comment, or something, judging from what you wrote.  Like you, I only came by because you were in my referrals list.  Since I am interested in shameless self-promotion, I thought I'd vistit this place that sent multiple visitors to my blog, (or maybe you, multiple times? Musn't jump to conclusions here), and see if I could stir up some more readers of my ineffable wisdom.  When I found you so eagerly awaiting my words, leaving a few remarks seemed the least I could do.  Also, I enjoyed writing the comment.

      By the way, I have reflected on the matter, and decided I was out of line in calling you a "putz."  This leaves the question of a suitable apology, and what I should do about the post -- strike through the offensive word, remove it completely, something else?  Any suggestion you care to make will be taken under advisement, and given very serious consideration.

      Now then, second, what appears to be the main premise of your argument is:
      The satire's point was that evolutionary theory is supposedly losing the struggle for existence--a fallacy.  Evolutionary theory is stronger than ever among scientists, and it is ID that cannot gain a foothold in science because it is not "fit" enough.

      *BRRRUP* Wrong!  I have the satire before me, as well as the article from the Christian Science Monitor that sparked the satire.  The article in the CSM mentions, science teachers, students, school officials, partisans of various views, and the general public, but not scientists or the scientific community.  The satire mentions "Elderly residents of Salina," "herds of Darwinists," "scrappy skeptics," "the public square," "classrooms," "competing species," "intellectual predators," and "environmentalists in California," but still no scientists or scientific community, or thinking of either.

      (By the way, I noticed you confused "evolutionary" theory with "Darwinian" theory in the quoted material above.  You need to work on making logical distinctions.  "Darwinian" theories are a subset of "evolutionary" theories, and Ott concentrated on the subset).

      Now, if the satire had been premised on the truth of certain ideas about the scientific community, or the consensus of thinking of scientists, you might be able to refute its premise.  That might have left it funny anyway, or it might not have.  Since it didn't mention or depend on any opinions whatever about the scientific community, you can't -- at least, not validly.  You can of course continue to insist that it's really about what scientists think.  That would be amusing, to me at least, but it would not be true.

      As for your statement that
      The only place ID can get a foothold is in the political arena
well, you seem to be using "political arena" to mean election results, public schools, and the general beliefs of the non-scientist public.  I'd say that usage is overly broad, but let's not quibble.

      However, as the aforementioned story makes clear, that is precisely where neo-Darwinism is losing the competition for belief, with teachers finding themselves (according to the CSM) hard pressed to respond to anti-Darwinian arguments.  So a statement that Intelligent Design can't win is contradicted by the evidence, which says it is winning.  Of course, the Gallup Poll mentioned in the article, in which Design beats Evolution 48% to 28% may be wrong, (and it leaves me wondering what the other 32% think), but you didn't make that argument.

      Thus, your "refutation" is akin to disputing the argument that "Among mothers of grade schoolers, Republicans do better at the polls than Democrats," by insisting that the Democrats are more popular with the childless.

      As for your statement:
For example, let's say I wrote a "satire" that was based on the false premise that the sun revolved around the earth and that made fun of those who believed that the earth revolved around the sun, such that it would only be funny if you accepted the premise that the sun revolved around the earth.
      Well, by definition, if there is work of literature X that will only be found amusing by people who believe Y, those who don't believe Y won't find X amusing.  Look up tautology.  But if there is a given work of literature, Z, and you argue that anyone who finds it amusing must believe Y, the argument may be refuted by finding one person who doesn't believe Y, but found Z amusing.  Since a) I found Ott's satire funny, and b) I don't believe in Intelligent Design, or any form of Creationism, it seems your argument has fallen apart.

      So, it seems this all came down to 1) You have trouble reading, which led you to think that Ott asserted some things he never said or implied; 2) You have trouble with your sense of humor, since you can't find something funny if it makes fun of your beliefs; 3) You have trouble with logic, because you believe that asserting "P is true" is an argument for the truth of P, and finally, 4) You may have trouble with empirical observation, since you don't seem to notice what goes on in public.  However, this last hypothesis needs further testing.  5) You also seem to have an obsession with what scientists allegedly think, such that you thrust it into discussions of other topics completely.  But here we veer into the realm of psychology, and I lack expertise in this field.  Still, you might wish consult a psychiatrist about possible obsessive/compulsive disorder.

      Again, thank you for the traffic.  Let me know if I can do something for you some time.

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