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Re: Get Your Brick Before They're All In The Bridge!

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  • w_w_c_l
    SKEW THE DATA, THIS IS WAR! Boy, it s been a long time since I ve had this much fun on the internet. I m still reading the reviews and comments about Darwin s
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 12, 2013

      Boy, it's been a long time since I've had this much fun on
      the internet.

      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 to
      > 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.

      I was referring here to David *Snoke*, not *Robert* Crowther.

      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.

      For example:

      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
      | features?

      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
      goes wrong."

      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;
      > it remains unexplained;
      > therefore, intelligent burning.

      OK? So much for Berlinski. But compare that with Luskin's
      statement here:

      | "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
      .."..6: 19
      .."..7: 13
      .."..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
      | book."

      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?

      Tsk, tsk.

      Rick Hartzog
      Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
    • w_w_c_l
      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
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 13, 2013
        "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?

        Rick Hartzog
        Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
      • w_w_c_l
        From: On Darwin s Doubt, Still Waiting to Hear from Big Shots in the Darwin Brigade, by David Klinghoffer ... Isn t he snotty? Well, be careful what you ask
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 22, 2013
          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
          Science Magazine:


          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?

          Rick Hartzog
          Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism

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