Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Opponents of ID take the bait on voodoo film criticism

Well the critics of "Expelled" have taken the bait: they are defending the idea that you can review a movie without seeing it. Here is one commenter, Dan, on why he supports voodoo film criticism:
You don't actually have to see a movie to know that it's ****.

... Nobody who is intelligent needs to see it. Just listen to Ben Stein. Just read reputable people who have seen it. Just learn about the history of the movie (i.e., the lies they told to their interviewees).

It's not rocket science. It's not science at all.
And what does this guy know about rocket science, anyway? I know something about it. I mean I haven't actually dealt directly with rockets or been at any launches or taken a degree in it or anything like that. But my father is an actual rocket scientist and I've listened to my father talk about it for years. I've even read some things he's written (and he is very reputable). I've also read some things about the history of rocket science. And you know what that means, don't you? It means I know rocket science too. So this guy needs to just shut up about rocket science because he doesn't know anything about it.

Like I do.

Then there's good ol' Frame:
If you're going to talk about integrity, you should stop defending ID right now because this movement is run by an organization of people who believe that the ends justify the means.
Ends justifying means? You mean like saying its okay not to actually see movies you are critiquing simply because it serves your purposes in wanting the movie to look bad?

I love it when defenders of the empirical method defend anti-empirical methods to pursue their purposes.

21 comments:

theframeproblem said...

Wow. First off, thanks for your dishonest posting of only part of my statements on this manner. Thanks for leaving out how I said that you could also view the movies trailers, Ben Stein and associates' many interviews, read other reviews on both sides of the page, and also be learned on background of ID.

But let me repost something I just posted in the comment section at my blog. When it comes to ID, here's why I can comfortably *not* watch a movie made by people who clearly are dedicated to lying for Jesus:

(Note, my comment is in response to a commenter criticizing me for not taking seriously links claimed to present evidence for ID and over-valuing scientific consensus; but the relevance is essentially equal)

"My reasons for not wanting to waste my time reading through his link was more than about scientific consensus - though given how science works (and it is clear that you have a very poor understanding of this) - a scientific consensus is quite sufficient reason right there to not waste my time with the links. Here’s how science works, essentially: you get a bunch of people interested in studying certain things, they study them, they have their work criticized rigorously by other people studying the same things, and if after a brutal gauntlet of peer review (here’s an order of operations: scientist does study and criticizes own ideas and work along with his close colleagues who do the same; scientist presents work to departmental colleagues and grad students; scientist presents work at conference of colleagues; scientist sends of study to journal for review for publication by a panel of experts; the panel either accepts it, accepts it on some conditions of modification (e.g., re-write this section), does not accept or reject it decisively, but says to re-do certain things with greater control because something wasn’t done carefully enough; or rejects it flat out; (note that most publication submissions are not accepted); then once the article is published the work is reviewed by the widest audience of expert critics where it could quickly fall, last a while and then fall (perhaps due to newer findings), or last quite a while and become foundational to other research (but still could, later on, be rejected or in need of some sort of reinterpretation). This is a brutal process in which at every step of the way very intelligent experts with keen eyes for detail are actively looking for flaws and other interpretations. Further, there are many incentives for successfully arguing down someone elses or even one’s own work. To argue a study or body of research down is to show attention to detail, comprehension of the issues, and the ability to think critically and creatively - the very top qualities of a scientist. Each time a person successfully does this, they bolster their status in science which has implications for grants, promotions, tenure, performance bonuses, offers for jobs at other higher ranking institutions, funding, and general respect among peers.

Given all of the above, scientific consensus means A LOT! This is far different than a mere argument from popularity.

But that’s not where my reasons for doubting the strength of the supposed evidence for ID stops. Just over 2 years ago at the Dover, Penn Trial the ID community had the OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME to argue for the scientific validity of ID. Not only did they have the opportunity of putting their case before a court - y’know, because the scientific community has it out for them and so they need someone else to judge… - but they had the odds stacked in their favour from the get-go: THE JUDGE WAS A CONSERVATIVE AND CHRISTIAN BUSH-APPOINTED REPUBLICAN! (Note: I’m not yelling, I’m just trying to emphasize). Not only did the ID community lose, they lost *miserably*. This judge not only decided against them, he called their position one of *”breathtaking inanity”*, he accused many on their panel of lying about their motivations for bringing the case forward saying that while the IDists were saying that it was about science they were clearly motivated by religion, he said that they were trying to dress up religion as science in a deceitful attempt to bring religion into the classroom, and he went out of his way to make his final word on this case strong and decisive for the sake of setting a strong precedential landmark to guide future rulings regarding ID/Creationism. Moreover, when Michael Behe (scientist recruited by the ID side) attempted to redefine the entire concept of science so as to be able include ID in the definition, his definition was so loose that he had to admit in court that under his new definition of science astrology would be considered science."

How about some integrity, for a change? A little honesty? A little reasonability? A basic understanding that ID is different than just any old movie because one can evaluate its content without actually seeing it because the makers of the movie make its content widely known outside of the actual movie - in trailers, many interviews, writings on the official website, etc.; plus there are many reviews positive and negative one can inform them self with.

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

It seems like, by now, these guys have spent more time defending not seeing the movie than they would have spent seeing it.

And I for one, would be interested in their rational arguments as to why the careers of the scientists and journalists profiled in the film should have had their careers ended as they did.

But I don't get such rational arguments, instead, I get lines like "lying for Jesus" -- excuse me? Ben Stein is Jewish.

Contempt does not persuade. And you've documented enough inaccuracies and lies here on this blog that I can't help thinking that someone who's willing to lie about all this is necessarily someone who's willing to lie about all this.

I'm not a scientist, don't claim to be. But the "mainstream" scientists are reacting so poorly to dissent I can't help thinking that they're hiding something.

theframeproblem said...

Paul:

1) Science THRIVES on dissent. It is a key source of scientific progress. The reason why science does not respect ID is that it is dissent without intellectual merit.

2) Stein is Jewish, but he's an outlier. Almost all of his colleagues are devout Christians. Stein, though, is clearly deeply faithful himself in Judaism.

3) What people have been "expelled" for Creationism? Sternberg never had a paid position with the Smithsonian and was never let go. Gonzalez had a piss-poor publication record and publications are the key factor in tenure considerations. However, being an advocate for ID is not exactly a feather in one's cap given that such a commitment indicates a profound ignorance of what science is and a religious dogmatism that readily overrides scientific sensibilities. It is not just atheists who call ID unscientific. It's not even just scientists - excluding the well under 1% of scientists who do respect it. Even conservative and christian bush-appointed republican judge john jones who presided over the dover, penn trial called it "breathtaking inanity" and religion in disquise, not science.

And before you go on any further about expelled scientists or the scientific community reacting poorly to this brand of dissent, why not do yourself a favour and hear the other side: www.expelledexposed.com.

And before you say "well, you haven't heard the otherside - you haven't even watched the movie!", keep in mind that I have read statements on the official site, watched multiple interviews with Stein, received multiple emails from the Expelled promotion team, have read many pro-ID writings over the past 2 years, have read positive and negative reviews of Expelled, and have watched all of the trailers of the movie. Thus, I'm pretty sure that I have a fairly decent grasp of its arguments and of the deceit that went into them - e.g., many IDists are expelled, scientists are suppressing dissent, the media and court systems are in on it, too, "Darwinism" inspired the Holocaust, etc etc etc.....

Martin Cothran said...

Frame,

Wow. First off, thanks for your dishonest posting of only part of my statements on this manner.

Maybe you could tell me the journalistic or scholarly rule that prevents someone from using just one part of a, or book rather than having to reprint what the person said in its entirety. If you had written a whole book (I'm thinking here of something on the order of "A Defense of Voodoo Film Criticism," by Frame), would I be somehow obliged to quote the whole book rather than something you said in the book?

Every time someone quotes some Darwinist source and it reflects badly, there are squeals of outrage and charges that the comments were taken out of context. But when the context is provided, there turns out to be nothing in it inconsistent with the ostensible meaning of the original quote.

In that sense, your complaint is in good company. But at least you didn't use the magic expression which, for Darwinists, seems to be cover a multitude of irrationalities: "quote-mining".

In fact, I even put a link in this post so that people could go right to what you said--the entire thing.

And so what, in the broader context of what you said, is inconsistent with the part of what you said that I quoted?

Anonymous said...

The funny thing about all these arguments concerning "voodoo" criticism(LOL) is that all the opponents of ID write extremely long comments all of which are simply kitch. However i will continue to observe the said comments and hopefully find something useful.

theframeproblem said...

Martin:

You are honestly a disingenuous douche bag, and you've been this way from the start of my interactions on this blog.

You quote one of my statements - which is an accurate statement - but you leave out my explanation of why reviewing the content of expelled without seeing it is different than reviewing any old film. You also fail to rebut my points anywhere on this.

It is clear that you care more about *looking* smart than *being* smart. You care more about thinking and having others think that you're correct and than about actually engaging in honest discussion.

Next, the ID/Creationist movement is notorious for quote-mining. They have quote-mined all sorts of things to suggest meanings that are so completely contrary to what was intended. How many times has Einstein been claimed to be a man of religion when he specifically denounced organized religion? How many times has Darwin been quote-mined? Quote-mining has been one of the key tools of ID/C.

I will no longer be participating in discussion on this blog as the host clearly has minimal integrity.

If anyone who has been discussing things with me - primarily Lee - would like to continue to discuss things with me, we can do this. Just come to my blog and leave a comment somewhere or send an email to theframeproblem at live dot ca and we can arrange to discuss.

But I will no longer be engaging in discussion on this systematically dishonest blog.

One final point: ID/Cers constantly complain about the lack of intellectual respect they get. Well look what happens when I come to this particular IDer and try to engage him. He fails to address key arguments I make, unnecessarily demeans me in his posts (even though I didn't say anything even remotely silly in any of them), and continues to hold positions (e.g., on voodoo film reviews) as if no good reasons had been given when they had (and which he clearly ignored). This sort of thing is quite endemic within ID circles. No matter how many times IDers here the same case-closing criticisms, they continue to make the same arguments the next day as if no one had said boo. They continue to rely on their audience not being aware of the other side's position while they criticize them. Evidence for this is that the second you get a crowd that is obliged to be intellectually rigorous - e.g., the scientific commmunity or the US Court System - the ID/Creationists get flat out humiliated and then go whine to the masses who are not privy to the info that the scientific and judicial communities are aware of that they've been persecuted and "Expelled".

Martin Cothran said...

Frame,

I'll politely open the door for you as you leave.

You are not the first person who has come to this blog accusing me and others they might disagree with of intellectual dishonesty and calling them names (as you did in this post and as you have elsewhere) and then when their arguments aren't immediately accepted, and we don't turn tail and run--and, in fact, point out the flaws in their reasoning, they stamp their feet, complain that people are being mean to them, and walk away.

I never accused you of intellectual, or any other kind of dishonesty. I never called you a name. But you did both these things repeatedly.

You also repeatedly accused me of misrepresenting you when all I did was quote your own statements. You have yet to show me where I misrepresented you. All you can say is that I quoted you out of context--despite the fact that I included a link providing the context of your post.

I asked you whether you really thought that the arguments of some of the great Christian thinkers were on the level of a five year old, giving you a chance to justify your statements. You didn't do it.

I asked you to tell me what it was about the context of your statements I quoted that justified your charge of misrepresentation, allowing you to back up what you said. You didn't do it.

I gave you a logical syllogism using your own assertion as a premise and drawing the obviously absurd conclusion from it and asked you to tell me what was wrong with it, giving you an opportunity to logically defend yourself. You didn't do it.

I have given you several opportunities to justify yourself on several things and you have repeatedly avoided giving rational responses.

People who talk big about being rational and accuse those who disagree with them of having the rational abilities of a five year old, and who then get told, as you did by Lee, don't tend to attract a lot of sympathy.

You want to be able to come here, hurl insults and engage in invective, and when, as a result, we don't go easy on you, you get, not only irrational, but emotional.

You need to stop taking every response to your position as a personal affront. I don't take your arguments as personal affronts, although your insults don't exactly lend themselves to a cheerful response.

I suggest that if you want to contribute to a kinder, gentler reception for your arguments, you refrain from the following:

1. Calling your opponents names;
2. Questioning their honesty and integrity;
3. Likening their reasoning to the reasoning of a five year old.

You need to apply the Golden Rule, not just talk about it.

sympathizer of the "douche bag" said...

Careful now, TFP. Name-calling isn't any way to advance your argument, no matter how angry you feel at Martin.

Motheral said...

Martin: you and your fellow creationists attempt to discredit evolution, and science in general, without making the slightest visible attempt to study the subject-matter honestly; so it's really hypocritical of you to take others to task for criticizing a movie we haven't seen.

Furthermore, you've pretty much admitted that none of these critics actually got anything wrong about the content of "Expelled." So your complaints aren't just hypocritical; they're nothing but an empty diversion from the fundamental bankruptcy of your position.

Also, you've been repeatedly shown to have knowingly misrepresented what others (such as Ed Brayton, Evil Bender and myself) have said; which takes your credibility and integrity down yet another few notches.

Motheral said...

"SYSTEMATICALLY dishonest blog?" Frame, you are way too charitable for your own good.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what scientific journals relevant to evolution Martin reads on a regular basis? (Science, Nature, Quaterly Review of Biology for example) Isn't a failure to read these and discount evolution even worse than reviewing movies you haven't seen? Martin, where do you learn about evolutionary biology?

Martin Cothran said...

Motheral,

I notice that in one and the same post you a) refer to me as a creationist, which you know not to be true, and in the same breath, b) accuse me of misrepresentation.

Obviously you lose no sleep over a lack of logical consistency.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

Maybe you could point to something I said about an issue in microbiology, or even where I took a position on a scientific issue that depended upon knowledge in the field of science.

I do not make scientific statements, but despite this I am currently reading The Origin of Species, by Darwin, The Panda's Thumb, by Stephen Jay Gould, and The Night is Large, by Martin Gardner.

You, on the other hand, have attempted to use logic in your post. Can you tell me which treatises on logic your are currently reading?

Motheral said...

I notice that in one and the same post you a) refer to me as a creationist, which you know not to be true...

How do I know this? You act like a creationist, defend creationist talking-points and outright lies, ignore valid arguments against said talking-points and lies, and make lame, flailing attacks on those who oppose creationists. Did I miss anything?

...and in the same breath, b) accuse me of misrepresentation.

And backed up with specific statements of fact.

Obviously you lose no sleep over a lack of logical consistency.

I might, if only you could point out an example of such inconsistency on my part.

Martin Cothran said...

Motheral,

I'm just getting tired of dealing with you. I suppose it wouldn't be to tiresome if you weren't always demanding everyone else live up to standards you repeatedly violated yourself.

Admit you misrepresented me as a creationist when you knew I wasn't or you're banned from the board.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the Family Foundation has supported creationism in the schools for years. In the 1990's they used to link to the Institute for Creation Research (the major young earth creationist organization before Answers in Genesis became so popular) on their website. Martin is one of the major "policy analysts" and a lobbyist for the Family Foundation. Of course it is possible that Martin was willing to lobby for something he doesn't believe in or has just recently changed his position. Care to let us know?

Anonymous said...

Martin said:
"I do not make scientific statements, but despite this I am currently reading The Origin of Species, by Darwin, The Panda's Thumb, by Stephen Jay Gould, and The Night is Large, by Martin Gardner."

A nice start, but I read the first two when I was a teenager in the 1980's. Gardner is a wonderful essayist, but his expertise is in math and philosophy, not evolutionary biology or a relevant science.

You have been lobbying against evolution since at least the early 1990's if not longer. Where have you gotten your information about evolution? Isn't what you have done like reviewing a movie you haven't seen, but on a much larger scale? You have, after all, been lobbying state senators and school board members about a subject you don't appear to know much about.

Martin Cothran said...

Look, if that's the best you've got, you're really hurting for evidence, okay? First of all, I was just one of a number of employees who views on this issue differ. Are you somehow beholden to every position on every website your employer links to on its website? Really?

Second, just because you have a link to a website doesn't mean you believe everything the operators of the website believe. I'm sure if there had been an Intelligent Design website was around at the time, there would have been a link to that too.

Third, my views probably were closer to creationism back then than they are now, although I never believed in young earth creationism.

Finally, don't you think the best indicator of what I believe is what I have expressly stated on this blog? Go do a search of what I said on this question on this blog and see what you find.

Anonymous said...

Martin Cothran said:
"Look, if that's the best you've got, you're really hurting for evidence, okay? First of all, I was just one of a number of employees who views on this issue differ. Are you somehow beholden to every position on every website your employer links to on its website? Really?"

Do you mean there was trouble in Paradise? I'm not a major spokesman for my employer.

"Second, just because you have a link to a website doesn't mean you believe everything the operators of the website believe. I'm sure if there had been an Intelligent Design website was around at the time, there would have been a link to that too."

So why didn't "intelligent design" exist back then? Did the Supreme Court decision on the Louisiana law have anything to do with the creation (evolution?) of "Intelligent Design"? At the Dover trial, it was easy to demonstrate the transition from creationism to Intelligent Design by looking at various drafts of the book _Of Pandas and People_.

"Third, my views probably were closer to creationism back then than they are now, although I never believed in young earth creationism."

You lobbyed for kids to be taught the earth was 6000 to 10000 years old in science class and that Noah's Flood explained geology but you never really believed it. I see.

"Finally, don't you think the best indicator of what I believe is what I have expressly stated on this blog? Go do a search of what I said on this question on this blog and see what you find."

The trouble is that it is difficult to tell. You use creationist arguments but deny being a creationist. You claim to explicitly say you aren't but then turn around and support creationism and its arguments. It is really difficult to tell the difference between you and a creationist; yet you berate anyone who says you are a creationist.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

You have been lobbying against evolution since at least the early 1990's if not longer. Where have you gotten your information about evolution? Isn't what you have done like reviewing a movie you haven't seen, but on a much larger scale? You have, after all, been lobbying state senators and school board members about a subject you don't appear to know much about.

So because there was a link on a website of an organization that I was affiliated with therefore I lobbied legislators for it? Very, very poor reasoning.

I have never lobbied a single, solitary legislator on anything having to do with science. If you think so, tell me what bill it was? Which legislator I spoke to? The fact is it has never even come up.

And what logic book did you say you were reading?

Martin Cothran said...

You lobbyed for kids to be taught the earth was 6000 to 10000 years old in science class and that Noah's Flood explained geology but you never really believed it. I see.

Anonymous,

You've got one more chance to make a statement that isn't off in fantasyland. My legislative ethics reports which list every bill I lobbied since the 1990s is public information. Tell me which one had anything to do with creationism. Just one.