Re: Get Your Brick Before They're All In The Bridge!
- SKEW THE DATA, THIS IS WAR!
Boy, it's been a long time since I've had this much fun on
I'm still reading the reviews and comments about "Darwin's
Doubt" on Amazon.
First, let me make a correction. I had previously written
(in message #32524):
> I think it was a huge tactical error by the DI's PR team toI was referring here to David *Snoke*, not *Robert* Crowther.
> allow this thing to take place on Amazon, and to have people like
> Casey Luskin and David Crowther post their gushing 5-star reviews,
> because they're getting pounded. In public. By people who know
> what they're talking about.
Robert Crowther *is* the DI's PR team, David Snoke is the
physicist who wrote the "Most Helpful" of the 5-star reviews
for "Darwin's Doubt."
Be that as it is, they're still getting pounded.
David Snoke is also the author of "A Biblical Case for an
Old Earth" (2006) and co-authored a 2004 paper with Michael
Behe that was used in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial --
to Behe's chagrin:
| [Behe's] simulation modelling of evolution with David
| Snoke described in a 2004 paper had been listed by the
| Discovery Institute amongst claimed "Peer-Reviewed &
| Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the
| Theory of Intelligent Design", but under oath he
| accepted that it showed that the biochemical systems
| it described could evolve within 20,000 years, even
| if the parameters of the simulation were rigged to
| make that outcome as unlikely as possible.
Snoke's attempt to "compromise" Genesis with science in his
"Biblical Case for an Old Earth" was rather nastily reviewed
And, ironically, it seems that David Snoke doesn't believe in
evolution *at all*:
So it does seem strange that he would award 5 stars in a review
for a book whose only problem with evolution seems to be the
Cambrian explosion. After all, Meyer doesn't question that
life has evolved; it's just that, according to him, the
Cambrian explosion happened too quickly for it to have been
That's good enough for Snoke -- 5 stars. Of course, the
commenters under his review were obliged to painstakingly and
mercilessly point out these little details, and Snoke turned off
comments to his review on August 26 at an even 500.
And Luskin -- oh, Luskin. The lawyer who was Meyer's "research
associate" for "Darwin's Doubt." Not comfortable with the pointed
questions he was getting under his review, he retired back to the
Discovery Institute to shore up his defenses.
Meyer's book says: The explosion took place over 5 to 10 million
Donald Prothero's review says: No, the "explosion" took 80 million
Luskin, back in the safety of the monastery, says:
| Did he [Prothero] not read Section II of "Darwin's Doubt"
| where Meyer argues that even if there were tens of millions
| of years available to evolve the Cambrian animals (as
| Prothero asserts), unguided evolutionary mechanisms still
| don't work fast enough to produce many of their complex
My word. The explosion happened too fast and even if it didn't it
still happened too fast.
Prethero didn't assert "tens of millions" of years -- he said
80 million years, which is what the most recent molecular data
shows. And Meyer didn't say 80 million years wasn't long enough;
he basically just said that molecular data was worthless.
There is so much misinformation and deliberate misdirection in
Luskin's article about Prothero's review that it needs to be
preserved as a character witness against its creator, because it
shows clearly just what kind of man Luskin really is.
He's not stupid, but apparently he thinks his readers are.
Many of the commenters under his review showed just how wrong he
was about that, and Luskin turned his comments off after 372,
on August 18.
So, on to Robert Crowther, who didn't review the book but just
gave it 5 stars, complained about how nasty the negative
reviewers were, and pasted the blurbs from the book's back cover.
As I said, Crowther is the Discovery Institute's director of
communications. He has no science background whatsoever.
But he does know his PR! He turned his comments off after
only 22, on August 12.
And now comes David Klinghoffer, who edits the DI's dishonestly
named Evolution News and Views website. He doesn't write a review,
either; just complains about the attacks on Meyer's book, tells
everyone to go to the ENV website and see where these criticisms
are answered by Luskin and David Berlinski, and begs for some
Darwin defender to come forward and tell us "where Meyer's
rigorous critique of Darwinism and case for intelligent design
Funny thing, none of the so-called Darwin defenders ever bother
defending Darwin. Their response to that is that Darwin is dead,
and what he wrote 150 years ago has no bearing on attempts to
falsify modern evolutionary theory. WHY are you guys so hung up
on Charles Darwin, they ask. A rigorous critique of Darwinism is
about as relevant to modern biology as a critique of wooden
rudders would be to an aircraft carrier.
As to where Meyer's "case for intelligent design goes wrong," I
think we can let Klinghoffer's two recommended experts provide
that example superbly.
Behold David Berlinski's logic!:
| "Stephen Meyer's book "Darwin's Doubt" makes three claims:
| That the Cambrian explosion was real;
| that it remains unexplained;
| and that these facts sanction, or support,
| an inference to intelligent design.
Compare that with:
> The Chicago fire of 1871 was real;OK? So much for Berlinski. But compare that with Luskin's
> it remains unexplained;
> therefore, intelligent burning.
| "He [Prothero] wrongly charges that ID is a
| "god of the gaps" argument, one that invokes
| the "supernatural," when of course ID does
| no such thing, and Meyer rebuts this charge
| decisively in chapters 17 and 19 of
| "Signature in the Cell.""
Maybe so. I haven't read it. So to satisfy the weaselly-worded
lawyer, please refer to the Lord God Almighty as "designer of the
gaps." Because we all know that's what they're getting at, and
as far as the scientists are concerned, their problem isn't with
the idea of God in itself, but rather with the idea of arbitrarily
sticking this unknown immaterial entity, without evidence, without
explanatory power, without testable prediction, into some gap in
current scientific knowledge and pretending that is science.
Nevertheless, if it is true that Meyer rebutted the idea in
"Signature in the Cell" (2009), then he "decisively" rebutted
his own rebuttal in "Darwin's Doubt," on page 412:
| "Unlike the theistic evolution of Francis Collins,
| however, the theory of intelligent design does not
| seek to confine the activity of such an agency to
| the beginning of the universe, conveying the
| impression of a decidedly remote and impersonal
| deistic entity. Nor does the theory of intelligent
| design merely assert the existence of a creative
| intelligence behind life. It identifies and detects
| activity of the designer of life, and does so at
| different points in the history of life, including
| the explosive show of creativity on display in the
| Cambrian event. The ability to detect design makes
| belief in an intelligent designer (or a creator,
| or God) not only a tenet of faith, but something
| to which the evidence of nature now bears witness.
| In short, it brings science and faith into harmony."
One is almost tempted to remark that if Meyer's faith is
no better than his science, he's going to be burning in hell.
But we avoid such temptations.
David Klinghoffer's non-review was posted on July 23, had 37
comments by July 30, and no more comments until August 23,
when 3 comments were posted. And that was it. Maybe he
turned his comments off for three weeks, turned them back on
to see if the wind had shifted, and right back off.
And then things started lagging a little bit. Prothero's review
was the only one that was getting any action. Occasionally a
5-star review would get dropped in and a few of the scientists
would swarm over there like blood in the water, and then
everything would be pretty quiet again.
Then suddenly, in the blink of a geological eye, there was an
*explosion* of over 40 5-star reviews for "Darwin's Doubt" that
came flooding in to the Amazon website. Many of them are only
a paragraph or two long, some are only a few sentences, and
nearly all of them fail to say anything at all about what is
actually in the book, focusing instead on warning everyone not
to pay any attention to that man behind the curtain.
Here is a day-by-day count of the appearance of 5-star reviews,
beginning August 1:
Aug. 1 : 2
.."..2 : 7
.."..3 : 1
.."..4 : 0
.."..5 : 2
.."..6 : 0
.."..7 : 1
.."..8 : 2
.."..9 : 3
..".10 : 3
..".11 : 0
..".12 : 1
..".13 : 2
..".14 : 2
..".15 : 6
..".16 : 0
..".17 : 2
..".18 : 2
..".19 : 1
..".20 : 0
..".21 : 2
..".22 : 0
..".23 : 3
..".24 : 1
..".25 : 0
..".26 : 1
..".27 : 2
..".28 : 0
..".29 : 2
..".30 : 0
..".31 : 0
Sep. 1 : 3
.."..2 : 0
.."..3 : 0
.."..4 : 0
.."..5 : 2
.."..8 : 5
.."..9 : 5
..".10 : 3
It is very obvious, from the above data, that *something* happened.
What could it be? Some mysterious, unknown intelligence, perhaps?
Nah, apparently the Discovery Institute is behind it:
"Promote Free Speech on Evolution: Spread the Video about Darwin's Doubt"
| "By circulating this new video to your family,
| friends, and acquaintances, you will help
| promote constructive discussion about the
| evidence for intelligent design in nature.
| And you will be standing up for genuine free
| speech in science on the origin and development
| of life.
| "You can also help promote open discussion by
| going to Amazon and posting an honest review
| of Meyer's book. If you haven't read Meyer's
| book yet, you can weigh in by voting for the
| most thoughtful reviews and by voting down the
| ad hominem rants by those who haven't read the
If you'll notice, this page got 384 "Likes" on Facebook and
471 "Shares", as well as 244 "Tweets" on Twitter. If I had
been paying attention I might have been able to tie the timing
of the likes and shares and tweets to the increase in 5-star
reviews. Alas, that may be something only the DI will ever
If so, they should be ashamed -- of the pitiful results they
got. A concerted campaign, and only 40 people could be
motivated enough to go write a couple of "honest" paragraphs
and give "Darwin's Doubt" 5 stars?
Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
- "No fair! Christine M. Janis is being a big patootey-head!"
Dr. Janis is not just another professor of paleontology at
some university somewhere. She is considered by her colleagues
to be one of the world's foremost authorities on the subject
of mammalian evolution. She has also been actively involved
in the Amazon discussions of Stephen Meyer's new book. Her
comments reflect her expertise; they are reasoned, informative...
and devastating to creationist attempts to strew misinformation.
Of course, not everyone perceives her as I do:
| Comment #19
| By: LoneResearcher
| On: June 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm
| The person doing the amazon trolling in the comment
| sections of the Darwins Doubt book is a scientist
| called Christine M. Janis you can easily look her
| up she is a paleontologist for Brown's University.
| She has left 100s of abusive comments claiming ID
| is not science and claiming anyone who supports ID
| is anti-science, thick or has no science education.
| She admitted she has not read Meyer's book! I
| emailed Brown University about her behaviour. It is
| not productive what she has been doing. A further
| look into her internet history showed me she has
| been doing it for years. Online trolling? Do these
| Darwinian scientists not have anything better to do?
Gee, I hope Brown University doesn't fire her. She'd
probably never be able to work again, with a black mark
like this on her record. The very idea, claiming ID is
not science! There's no reason that creationists on the
internet, just for practicing their God-given right of
free speech, should be subjected to this kind of "abuse."
What is America coming to?
Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
- From: "On Darwin's Doubt, Still Waiting to Hear from Big Shots
in the Darwin Brigade," by David Klinghoffer
| I found myself thinking about what a poor reflection it is
| on the chiefs among the large body of international Darwin
| defenders that they leave the response to the most important
| arguments against their theory to the small fry like these
| callers, who go only by their first names and locality
| ("Bob in Ohio")...
| Where is Jerry Coyne in this debate? Where is Dawkins? Even
| PZ Myers? Or Lawrence Moran, who promised "I'm planning to
| read [Darwin's Doubt] as soon as I can get a hold of a copy --
| probably sometime in August in Canada." ...It would seem noble
| for the generals to go into battle alongside the ordinary foot
| soldiers, putting themselves at risk as well, instead of
| hanging back at a safe distance. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/09/on_darwins_doub076241.html
Isn't he snotty? Well, be careful what you ask for.
The day before yesterday Jerry Coyne announced on his blog
that Charles R. Marshall had reviewed "Darwin's Doubt" in
The full article is here:
My experience has been that you can't always get to the full articles
by using a direct link, but I was able to get it by clicking through
from the link on Jerry Coyne's blog.
It will be quite interesting to see how the Discovery Institute tries
to spin this -- Marshall says basically the same thing all those
"small fry," those "ordinary foot soldiers," have been saying for the
last three months: Meyer ignores the evidence that contradicts his
thesis, he makes fundamental scientific errors, and his "evidence" is a
negative argument: science hasn't explained the Cambrian explosion
to his satisfaction, therefore "God did it" -- it's "god of the gaps."
Exactly what "Bob in Ohio" and "Anonymous on Amazon" have been saying
all along -- "Darwin's Doubt" is not science. But then we out here
on the borders knew that all along -- it was published by HarperOne,
a religious imprint, and it was put out by the Discovery Institute.
What else did anyone expect?
Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism